FAI Cup Final Preview: Drogheda United - Sligo Rovers

The Bit o' Red are favourites to take home the prestigious cup trophy at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, but will face a tough challenge from Mick Cooke's well-organised side
The final game of the Irish domestic season sees Drogheda United take on Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium.

Mick Cooke's Drogheda have been to two finals already this season, but will be looking to make it third time lucky after defeats to Shamrock Rovers in both the Setanta Sports Cup and the EA Sports Cup. Ian Baraclough's side failed to mount a title challenge despite being defending champions, and will hope to finish their season with some silverware.

Cooke will have a full selection to choose from, and is expected to start defender Alan Byrne in a more advanced role to protect the back four. The Drogs boss is aware of the task that faces his side, and has compared it to their Europa League ties with Malmo earlier in the season, where the Boynesiders held the Swedes to a scoreless draw at Hunky Dorys Park. "They're massive favourites," Cooke told the Irish Independnet. "I certainly think we'll have to produce a performance on a par with the ones against Malmo."

Joseph Ndo could be set to feature despite a doubt over his fitness during the week, and admitted he was looking forward to competing in another 'big game' for the Bit o' Red. "I think that’s what we live for," Ndo told the Leitrim Observer. "When those moments come that is when you have to show what you are capable of. I think all the talent in the world will not be fulfilled if you don’t show that, so what they call 'big games', that is what we live for. It is where you are going to see if you are capable or not."

Ian Baraclough will have to do without striker David McMillan for the glamour tie, but has a strong hand to choose from otherwise. "There has been competition for places all season but these last two or three weeks have been the first time where I've probably had all 22 or 23 players staking a real claim," Baraclough said. "I am going to have to disappoint some, but that's my job and it's what I get paid for. Hopefully we get it right on the day."

The FAI Cup Final kicks off at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 15.30 GMT on November 3.