'The FAI Cup is a special competition. You want to go win it.'
Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has targeted progress in the FAI Cup ahead of “massive game” with Derry City in The Showgrounds on Sunday.
Four-time winners Rovers meet the Candystripes for the fourth time this season, hoping to claim a victory for a place in the last four.
Derry travel to Sligo having had a rest weekend following a postponed league fixture, but are just one place behind the Bit o’ Red in the table.
Speaking at the Ford Media today in Dublin on Thursday, Baraclough said: “It's a massive game. I want to lead a team out at the Aviva, I want the supporters to look forward to the day in Dublin where they have been used to the last few years and more often that not in the last few years having success there as well. I know the interest it generates.
“Financially it is great for the club and the buoyancy of the club and everyone to do with it. The supporters, the players, management, committee, it is a great day to be involved in.
“You just see it today. There is management here, players here, the media interest is fantastic. The FAI Cup is a special competition. You want to go win it.”
Rovers have won the last six meetings against Derry which includes five league wins. Those games have seen 16 goals scored by Rovers with just three conceded.
The total unbeaten run now stands at nine games for Rovers stretching back to a 4-1 loss in July 2007.
Baraclough feels it will not be a factor once the game begins but it should be used as an example to his players that they can overcome the Candystripes.
He stated: “It is great to have an Indian sign over a club. It is obviously in their mentality that they have not beaten us for a long while. It doesn't county for anything when the whistle starts but we know we have it in our armoury to go and beat a Derry side.
“They will come here refreshed having not played last weekend and possibly their focus is solely on the cup because their league form has dropped a little bit. They will have had a fortnight of being able to really focus on this competition and we have to work really, really hard to make sure we are in the draw in the semi-finals.”
Rovers will be without four players for the tie. Kieran Djilali is suspended, David McMillan is cup-tied while Evan McMillan and Ross Gaynor (knee injuries) are unavailable.
The Rovers boss has challenged his players to take advantage of the increased chances of selection by putting in a performance to stake a claim for games in the remainder of the season.
“We're going into the final throw of the season where you want everybody firing and wanting to be invovled. Everybody knowing that if they are put in the team, they can do a job.
“We have quality in depth and we can get victories when we're not at our best. In horse racing terms we're coming up the rails and if either of the two in front of us blow a gasket, we haven't got the whip out yet. We're ready to pounce.
“Next week in the league one of the teams will drop points, maybe even both of them. If we take care of our own business, we're in there for a shout. The cup comes first, that’s what all our focus is on and a Derry team that are trying to hold on to the trophy they hold.
“We have no extra injuries from the Bohs game. Unfortunately we are missing Evan McMillan and it has come a week too early for Ross Gaynor. Kieran has been a big player for us in recent week. He has been very consistent in the last couple of months.
“That will be a blow to us but we have players that we know can come in and do a good job. They know if they do well they will have a chance in run-in from now to the end of the season.
“It is important everybody applies themselves well, it has been a great week of training so far this week. We're looking to this weekend as a special, special weekend in the footballing calendar.”