Russell excited about FAI Cup tie
John Russell will be aiming to reach the FAI cup final for the fourth time in his career with the road to The Aviva beginning this Sunday in The Showgrounds.
Rovers will host Dublin club Crumlin United in the second round of the competition won by the Bit o’Red five times at 5pm.
Russell missed last weekend’s draw with Derry City in the SSE Airtricty League with a hip flexor problem but is hoping to make it back for this game: “The injury is not too bad at the moment, it’s coming along ok. I injured it in the game against Cork and I have just been nursing it ever since. If I played last week it just would have worsened it but I am hoping to be fit for Sunday.”
With Rovers league position below what was hoped for Russell sees the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup as a chance to bring success to the season: “It’s a no brainer that the FAI Cup has a lot of importance for us this season. All the players and the fans can see that our league form has not been good enough.
“But this offers us the chance to push on and still qualify for European competition next year. We all know the history the club has with the FAI Cup and we know how much it would mean to the fans to do well. All of the lads are itching to get to The Aviva for the final this year.”
A two-time winner of the competition with Rovers in 2010 and 2011 Russell wants to make it a hat-trick of cup wins: “I have been fortunate enough to win it twice in 2010 and 2011 and I missed the chance to make it three in a row with St. Pat’s in 2012. So I have had good success in the competition before and it would be great to have some more. The Aviva is a great stage for the final and I would love to play there again. It would give a great lift to everybody to get to a cup final at the end of the season.”
Russell says that the approach they take to playing Crumlin will be no different to any other team: “No matter who the team we are playing or whether the competition is the league or the FAI Cup our focus has to be on ourselves. It doesn’t matter what the game is we have the players in this group to be winning. If we can perform to the level that we are capable of them we can beat any team that is put in front of us.”
The hard work being put in by the team in training has been getting its rewards with improved results and performances lately Russell feels: “We have been training very well over the last two or three weeks. We had been losing games and confidence is low when that happens. But I think getting the win against Drogheda was massive and our confidence has come back since that. We were unlucky last week as well to not get the win. We are just taking it game to game and putting our focus on the next game.
“I think that there is confidence in the dressing room now. We have got four points from six but we are disappointed it wasn’t six from six. Hopefully we can get the win this Sunday and get through to the next round.”
Sligo Rovers vs Crumlin United, FAI Cup Second Round, Sunday May 31st, The Showgrounds.