Cooke hopes Pat's have missed their chance in Cup tie

Aidan Fitzmaurice

DROGHEDA United boss Mick Cooke hopes that St Patrick's Athletic have blown their chance to make it into the last four of the FAI Cup.

Pats and Drogheda, two of the most in-form sides in the country, must meet again at Hunky Dorys Park tonight for their quarter-final replay after Friday's game at Inchicore finished 0-0.

Shelbourne, Derry City and Dundalk are already through to the last four but Cooke believes that the winners of the game in Drogheda this evening will be installed as favourites to lift the trophy and he's relieved that his side are still involved.

"Being honest, Pat's deserved to win the game on Friday and maybe they will feel that they have missed their chance to beat us," Cooke admitted.

"We had to soak up a lot of pressure and it's no wonder that our keeper, Gabriel Sava, was the man of the match.

"The first half on Friday was even enough but Pat's were excellent in the second half and we had to fight hard to stay in it," says Cooke, whose side came into the Cup match on the back of a four-game winning streak but were unable to repeat that form at Inchicore.

"We are chasing three trophies now and that has brought added pressure on the players so maybe that was a factor in our display the other night," Cooke says.

"I think we showed Pats too much respect and didn't do ourselves justice. Hopefully we can perform better tonight, we are at home and hopefully we'll have a large crowd behind us."

It's shaping up to be a big week for Cooke and his players: if they can get past Pats tonight they'll be installed as favourites to win the FAI Cup while next Saturday they face Shamrock Rovers in the League Cup final, while also trying to keep focused on the league title.

Drogheda have a doubt over Paul Crowley for tonight's tie.

Pat's have concerns over Chris Fagan and John Russell but Stephen O'Flynn is back in the frame.

"Drogheda are a tough team to play on any day, but playing them out in United Park makes things a bit more difficult," Pat's boss Liam Buckley says.

"In spite of that though, it's a chance to progress to the semi-finals and the players are looking forward to tonight.

"One side will finish on top. We just hope that it is ourselves."