Wednesday 20 September 2017

Sives sure derby date will refocus Rovers

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THERE could be no greater tonic for Shamrock Rovers after their Champions League disappointment than the sight of the red and black jerseys of Bohemians.

The regret will not be quickly forgotten -- the Hoops know FC Copenhagen were there for the taking on Tuesday night -- but the Dublin derby against the Gypsies tomorrow night at Dalymount Park will refocus the minds of Michael O'Neill and his players.

Tomorrow morning they will find out who awaits them in their Europa League play-off, before the reality of their title defence resumes against their bitter city rivals.

Defender Craig Sives knows the Hoops need to put their disappointments to one side before facing Bohemians.

"We were really down on Tuesday night, but can't wait for the Bohs match now," the Scot said. "We're just going to have to pick ourselves up in training and focus on the Bohs game.

"I suppose it is the perfect sort of game for both teams. They'll be looking to capitalise on us maybe being a little tired. They're a good side and it will be a tough game."

Rome giants AS Roma and Lazio, Tottenham, Celtic, Sevilla, PSV and Paris Saint Germain, who are reportedly preparing a £20m bid for Dimitar Berbatov, are among the teams who Rovers could draw.

But the players are putting any talk of another European adventure to one side until after their league fixtures against Bohs and UCD.

"It's a nice distraction," said Sives of the Hoops' European run. "It's a fantastic experience. It's the stage you want to be on as a footballer. Playing at the level we're at, those occasions don't come around very often.

"Hopefully, the next game will be something to look forward to, but for now we've got to focus on our bread and butter which is the League."

IN THE HAT

Rovers' potential opponents

AEK (Greece), Anderlecht (Belgium), Athletic Bilbao, Besiktas (Turkey), Birmingham, Braga (Portugal), Celtic, CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria), Dnipro (Ukraine), Hannover 96 (Germany), Lazio, Lokomotiv Moscow.

Metalist (Ukraine), Nordsjælland (Denmark), Paris St Germain, PSV (Netherlands), Rapid Bucharest (Romania), Roma, Schalke (Germany), Sevilla, Sion (Switzerland), Sochaux (France), Spartak Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Tottenham.

Irish Independent

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