Bohemians welcome Dundalk to Dalymount Park for tonight’s Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final clash (kick-off 7.45pm).
Bohs have secured European football for next season with a second-place finish but will look to celebrate the extension of Keith Long and Trevor Croly’s contracts by adding some silverware.
Danny Mandroiu and Danny Grant should be back in contention after international duty last week while Anto Breslin (suspension) and Andy Lyons (injury) will miss out. Keith Ward is a doubt.
The Rossoneri have not won the cup since defeating Derry City in 2008. Defeat of Dundalk tonight would earn a semi-final clash against First Division side Athlone Town.
“Dundalk are a high quality side and they provide a big obstacle in our bid to get to a semi-final,” Long told the club’s website.
“I have great admiration for the consistency of Dundalk over the last six or seven seasons and, despite not quite performing to the standards of recent seasons this year, they are still a very good side with many top quality players.
“All form as we know goes out the window in the cup and there is no doubt we will have to be at our very best tonight in order to progress.
“We do not want our season to be over tonight and the players I can assure you we will do everything to win and progress to a semi-final.”
Dundalk have had all eyes on Europe since the summer after meekly giving up their league title.
As domestic form has suffered, they have made the group stages of the Europa League earning €3 million for their efforts.
Head coach Filippo Giovagnoli is expected to sign a new contract, describing it as “in the computer” last week.
“It’s going to be a very tough match but I do feel from speaking to a few of the lads that this has now become our most important game of the season,” said striker David McMillan.
“We can forget about the Europa League games for the minute. If we want to come away from this season with a trophy, we need to win on Friday night and give ourselves a chance against Athlone the semi-final.
“We went to Bohs earlier this season and lost and we also drew 0-0 with them at Oriel recently so we’ll need to be ready.
“They’ve done very well this year, they’ve been very consistent, but it’s a game we’re eager to do well in and want to win.”
Patrick McEleney and Daniel Kelly are back in contention for selection, while Michael Duffy should be back after a red tape issue prevented the Derryman from joining up with Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad last week.
Bohs are unbeaten in the league against Dundalk this season, beating the Lilywhites in Dalymount Park and drawing in Oriel Park.
Their last meeting in the cup was also a quarter-final clash in 2012, when Marc Griffin netted a free kick for the Lilywhites earning a 1-0 win.
Bohemians 17/10; Draw 2/1; Dundalk 13/8.
Bohemians 2 – 1 Dundalk
Injured: Andy Lyons
Doubtful: Keith Ward.
Suspended: Anto Breslin.
Injured: Dane Massey, Patrick Hoban, Sean Murray.
Suspendeded: Sean Hoare.