Setanta Sports Cup: Linfield focused on trophy success

David Jeffrey
Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield manager David Jeffrey says his players are "really focused on doing our best in the Setanta Cup" as they prepare to face Shamrock Rovers.

The clubs meet in a quarter-final, first leg game at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin on Monday night (19:30 GMT).

The competition represents the Blues' last chance of securing some silverware after a disappointing domestic season.

"The season has not gone as we would have liked but I believe we can do well in this competition," said Jeffrey.

"All the players are very determined," added the Blues' boss, who indicated that his side will draw inspiration from the last competitive meeting between the sides in 1984.

On that occasion Jeffrey scored the equalising goal to secure his side's passage into the second round of the European Cup on away goals with a 1-1 aggregate scoreline.

Linfield will be without Mark McAllister and Michael Gault, who both carry over suspensions from last year's competition.

Rovers have new manager Trevor Croly at the helm and their squad includes ex-Blues striker Thomas Stewart, who spent two years at Windsor Park.

Linfield won the inaugural Setanta Cup competition in 2005, while Shamrock Rovers lifted the trophy in 2011.

Barry Molloy
Derry City will be missing Barry Molloy through suspension

Meanwhile Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson says he will make changes for his side's quarter-final, first leg, game with Sligo Rovers.

"We did the same for the previous round against St Pat's as it is a big ask for part-time players to play two games in less than three days, particularly with a long journey to Sligo ahead of us," explained the Glens' boss.

The two teams met at the same stage of the competition last year, when Rovers progressed 3-1 on aggregate.

Rovers boss Ian Baraclough has new signings Evan McMillan and Anthony Elding available while Aaron Greene could also play his first competitive game since returning from Shamrock Rovers during the winter.

Danny North is ruled out with a knee injury and Seamus Conneely misses out with a minor knock, but Iarfhlaith Davoren is in the squad after overcoming a hamstring problem.

Last year's beaten finalists Derry City will begin their season with a game against Drogheda United at the Brandywell, the first of three matches between the sides in the next three weeks.

The Candystripes will be without Sean Houston for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage and Dermot McCaffrey suffered a groin injury in the recent 1-0 friendly win over Institute.

Barry Molloy is also ruled out of the first-leg game through suspension.

Rory Patterson, Michael Rafter, Mark Griffin and Ryan Curran will compete for the striking positions, with Thomas Crawley and Barry McNamee vying for the left-back berth.

Crusaders will look to overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their tie with Cork City when the sides meet again at Seaview on Monday night.

"We put out a shape to defend down there and we almost got the right result but it's still all to play for and you will see a very different game and format from us at home," said Crues' assistant manager Jeff Spiers.

Monday 4 March - Setanta Sports Cup quarter-finals, first legs

Derry City v Drogheda Utd, 19:45 GMT

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield, 19:30

Sligo Rovers v Glentoran, 19:45

Second leg

Crusaders (0) v Cork City (1), 19:45

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