Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bradley: Time for a trophy

S Rovers v Dundalk Live EirSport, KO 3pm

Stephen Bradley with the EA Sports Cup trophy. Pic: Sportsfile
Stephen Bradley with the EA Sports Cup trophy. Pic: Sportsfile

Plaudits, and points, have come their way but Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley says it's time the club stepped up to the plate by landing a trophy.

Success in the FAI Cup, for the first time in 30 years, is still in their grasp as the Hoops face Dundalk in the semi-final of that competition next month, but today the same two teams meet in the final of the EA Sports Cup.

The Hoops won a Setanta Cup and EA Sports Cup double in 2013 but since then they've drawn a blank, and while a proper push for the Premier Division title next season is the aim, Bradley hopes that landing some silverware today (3pm kick-off) could kick-start something for the club.

"We need to go and try to win something," says Bradley.

"I've made no secret that our next thing was to win something as a group. When we sat down to set our targets it was to beat the top teams and go on certain runs.

"We've done that, and our next one is to win something as a group.

"I believe it grows the group very, very quickly. Stephen Kenny showed that by winning this [League Cup] and I think it showed with Cork last year winning the FAI Cup.

"It grows a belief within the squad, within the whole club really, that you can go and win things as a group. The sooner we can do that the better. Today is obviously our first opportunity to go and do it."

Due to the staggered nature of the season, with cup games and league games at the same time, it's been hard to build up a winning streak but the Hoops are enthused by the form of forward Brandon Miele.

"He's probably one of the most in-form players in the league," says Bradley.

"I'm sure Dundalk have one or two with the run they are on as well.

"But having someone like Brandon in the form he is in... his goals the other night, I don't think any goalkeeper in the league would have saved them.

"He does that. He has a strange way of hitting the ball. A technique around the box, he dips it at the last minute. I don't blame keepers, people saying they should have saved it.

"He hits it that it dips two or three yards before it gets to the goal. He does it every day in training. He just has that in him right now and he looks very dangerous anywhere around the box," added Bradley, whose club have been boosted by news that the FAI have contributed €180,000 towards facilities at their academy.

In team news, Bradley has a couple of issues to cope with.

Lee Grace (cup-tied) and Graham Burke (injury) are out.

Gary Shaw, Luke Byrne and Sean Boyd are concerns but all three should be fit.

Dundalk are also missing some well-known faces as Dylan Connolly is cup-tied and John Mountney has an injury. They have worries also over Thomas Stewart, Dane Massey and Stephen O'Donnell.

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