Dundalk will fear Rovers in the cup, says Russell
Sligo Rovers midfielder John Russell says Sligo Rovers have the experience within the squad that can help them progress in the cup.
Rovers take on Dundalk in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup quarter-final this Friday in Oriel Park. And the 30-year-old says results over the last few weeks can help Rovers' confidence heading into this meeting with the league leaders.
"It’s a one off game. You definitely go into a game like this with a different frame of mind. With the result last weekend alone, Dundalk will fear us. Even last year in the Setanta Cup final, they would have been favourites to beat us but that didn’t happen. We had a poor start to the season but we were still able to get to the final and win it against the odds. We have players who have been to finals and won the league, who know what it takes to win a game like this. And if we win we can go the whole way to the Aviva," he said.
The Galway native says confidence among the Roves camp has been boosted since the arrival of manager Micky Adams and his assistant Alan Rogers, particularly following the Bit o'Red's impressive 2-2 draw with the Lilywhites on Saturday evening.
"I really am looking forward to this Friday’s game. Especially when we’ve been doing well the last few weeks. A good run in the cup can keep our season alive and even turn it around."
"There’s confidence in the squad since Micky has taken over. Results have been going well. It’s been great. I don’t think too many would have given us much of a chance against Dundalk, they’re the league leaders so we wouldn’t have been expected to get a result but we did and it was a brilliant one to get," said the Rovers stalwart.
Russell was a part of the Rovers squad that won both the 2010 and 2011 cup finals. He knows of the competition's importance on a personal and club level.
"The cup is massive. It’s a brilliant occasion for both players and fans. Sligo Rovers have such a history with the FAI Cup too so it's very special. To get to showcase what you can do in the national stadium in front of twenty or thirty thousand people is huge. If we can get to the final it would be fantastic considering the season we have had. It would turn things around certainly."
Russell spent a long period on the sidelines this season with injury, but returned for the 4-0 victory over Drogheda United, which was also Adams' first win in charge of the club. And Russell says he is really enjoying playing for the Englishman.
"Been really good. Micky’s been here a few weeks and it’s great. My return from injury kind of coincided with him joining. It was frustrating being out injured and not being able to help on the field. I’ve enjoyed playing in the role I’m playing in. And players are playing in natural positions again. We have the perfect blend of young lads and experienced lads. Both Regan (Donelon) and Gary (Boylan) have been brilliant this year."
Meanwhile, Russell is down to the final twelve in the competition to see which League of Ireland player will be on the front of FIFA16. And while he's thrilled to be nominated, he would be even more pleased to go on and win the competition.
"It would be great to win the competition. I’m not big into playing Playstation, but I would be if I was on the front of FIFA. My wife plays Playstation though, mainly Assassin’s Creed but I’d have to get her playing FIFA if I was on the front cover! It’s a great promotion for the league. Even to get nominated as the Sligo Rovers player is massive, but it would be even better to go and win."
You can vote for John Russell to be on the front cover of FIFA right here.