A potential last 16 clash against Bohemians awaits Longford Town should they record an expected victory over Athlone Town on Tuesday evening (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
Town have enjoyed a renaissance in recent weeks following a poor defeat away to fellow promotion hopefuls Cabinteely, securing two wins on the spin.
The wins have seen Neale Fenn’s side claw the gap between them and Shelbourne back to five points, with both sides still left to play each other.
Speaking ahead of the game with Extratime.ie, Longford Town forward Aaron Dobbs is expecting a tough encounter against their local rivals.
“Athlone have realised what we’re about and in the second half against us they were much better. They’ve realised what players to play and what way to play against us.
“It’s the cup, we’re hoping for a run in that as they are, so we’ll approach it as any other game. I’m sure there’ll be changes on both sides, but we’re known as a cup team and we’ll be looking to go on a run in that.”
Speaking to his club’s media team, manager Fenn added; “It’s going to be difficult you know, forget the result last week.
“We might have caught them on an off day, it’s going to be a difficult game. Athlone came at us last week for a period and gave us a little bit of trouble.”
Jack Doherty is Longford’s only injury worry, but it is expected that Fenn will ring the changes with the home clash against Shelbourne just days away.
After suffering a humbling defeat last time out against Longford Town, Terry Butler’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways with a shock win over their Red and Black counterparts.
Athlone’s last FAI Cup win came in 2017, with a five-nil win over Munster Senior League Ballincollig.
Butler saw his side exit the cup last season with a four-nil defeat away to Shelbourne in their first outing, but he is expecting the game to be a tasty affair.
“It’s a local derby so it’s always going to be tasty isn’t it, the former Bohemians number two told extratime.ie at the first round draw at the Aviva Stadium last month.
“There hasn’t been a lot between the two teams in the past couple of meetings. We’re happy enough with it but maybe I’d be happier if we got a team in a bigger division but sure look. It’s the cup, anything can happen, and we’ll see what happens.
“It will be a great day and occasion for the club playing in the cup. It’s a shame that it’s away from home as it will make things a little bit harder, but the boys will relish it.”
Athlone have not released any team news ahead of their trip to Co. Longford.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea.
Athlone Town are winless against their fierce Midlands rivals since August 2013. The last time the Blue and Black of the Midlands came out on top over their Red and Black counterparts at Lissywoolen was in June of that year.
Longford Town have won twelve of the previous 15 meeting between the pair of First Division rivals, with Longford winning by over three goals on two occasions.
Terry Butler’s side have not won away from home since March when they secured victory against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds – with captain Aaron Brilly scoring the winner.
Longford Town 2/9; Draw 9/2; Athlone Town 12/1.
Longford Town 2 - 0 Athlone Town.
Doubtful: Jack Doherty.