Milford United welcome FAI Junior Cup holders Pike Rovers from Limerick to Moyle View Park this afternoon in the last 16 of the competition (kick-off 1pm).
A big crowd is expected as Peter Doherty’s side aim to replicate some of the drama that saw them through the last round, a 7-6 penalty shoot-out win over Athenry FC from Galway in last month. Three players saw red that particular afternoon – Milford’s Damien Casey was one of them and he is suspended this afternoon as a consequence – before substitute goalkeeper Ian Strain saved Athenry’s seventh penalty prior to Paddy Peoples’ winner.
Milford will welcome PJ Hagan into the side, after the former Fanad United striker was not signed in time to play in the last round. He will come straight into the team and fill to void left by Chris Bradley, who left for Australia 10 days ago. Caolan McGettigan, taken off in the last round with concussion, was back the week after against Glenea United and will hold onto the No 1 shirt, although Doherty might “do a Sligo Rovers” and introduce Strain in the case of another penalty competition.
The only other alteration from the side who performed so admirably against Athenry is caused by the suspension of Casey. Pauric Curley might come into the midfield, while player-manager Doherty, who had been absent with a hamstring complaint at the turn of the year should start himself in the bench. The only other concern is Ciaran McGinley, who has bruised ribs.
“We try to keep the ball on the ground in the Donegal League but in the FAI Junior Cup we have lift the intensity level,” Doherty said.
“We played Kildrum Tigers earlier in the season in the cup and tried to take them on at their own game and lost 5-0. That taught us a lesson about playing these better teams.
“Against Athnery we had to play with a lot of energy and be very direct. We’re fit enough to do that and it worked well in the last round. Even when they had two men sent off they were still holding onto the ball very well but we came through it.
“We have done a lot of research on Pike and to be honest some of it is frightening. They’re a top side as their record in this competition shows last year but we’re at home and will give it our best shot. If it means playing using Wimbledon tactics then that’s what we will do.”