Following a week where they lifted the EA Sports Cup trophy but were eliminated from the FAI Cup by Bohemians, it is back to league matters for Derry City this evening as they welcome Shamrock Rovers to the Brandywell (kick off 5pm).
It is a busy time for the Candystripes who face into three games in the next week but who have dropped off the pace in the race for Europe.
Having picked up yet another overall win in the league cup, it will rate as a successful season for City but there will be disappointment with the elimination from the main cup competition at the hands of the Gypsies - they had a remarkable run against the Dubliners prior to losing back-to-back games against Bohs in the FAI Cup and league.
"We were probably fortunate at times ourselves during that run of ten wins in a row against Bohs,” reflected City boss Kenny Shiels on the 3-1 quarter-final defeat to the Gypsies mid-week (see match report here).
"That said, we have to pick ourselves up and move on. It's another busy week ahead starting with Shamrock Rovers on Saturday. They'll be looking to consolidate third place after a couple of decent wins, but we have plenty to play for too.
"We have to strive to finish as high as we can in the table and see where that takes us. There are still six games to go so we'll be looking for a big finish over the next few weeks."
Conor McDermott continues to be unavailable for the Candystripes while Nicky Low is a doubt following his recent surgery.
The Hoops will be hoping to go back to third place in the table this evening after a Waterford win last night pushed Rovers down to fourth.
The Hoops have a superior goal difference over the Blues which will mean if Rovers remain unbeaten in Derry they will move back into the automatic European qualification. However they will be looking for all three points against a Derry team who have little to play for.
With five league games remaining Stephen Bradley’s side are seeking their sixth win in their last seven league outings as they look to secure European football for the fourth successive season.
“There are big game games for us and Waterford to go [to get third place],” said Hoops Head Coach about the European qualification race. “There’s going to be points dropped somewhere along the line but all we can do is focus on Derry, we can’t think about the other four games.
“I’m sure they’ll want a reaction after what happened against Bohs (in the FAI Cup quarter-final). We’ve got be prepared for Derry wanting to put their results in the past week right, and we have to be ready for that
“This year we’ve beaten them twice and drawn with them but none of that matters on Saturday. Out of all the times that we played Derry this season, I thought that was our best performance [at the Brandywell in April]. We just couldn’t score on the day.”
The Hoops hit Limerick for five last time out with Dylan Watts grabbing his fourth goal in the last five league games as he scored for the third game in a row.
“We fully deserved the five goals and it probably should have been more. I was really happy with the clean sheet as well. We went out there and tried to put the game to bed as quickly as possible.
“I think Dylan Watts’ shot was going on target to be fair to him but there was a big deflection. Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you like it did recently against Dundalk. It went in our favour this time.
Rovers have conceded just two league goals in their least ten league games. They’ve conceded only 13 goals away from home in this campaign – only Dundalk with nine have conceded fewer.
It was a scoreless draw between the sides earlier in the season in the Brandywell. While at Tallaght Stadium, the Hoops have beaten the Candystripes 6-1 and 2-0.
Derry haven’t won a home game in the league since their 2-1 win over St. Patrick’s Athletic back in July.
Derry 11/2; Draw 14/5; Rovers 11/10.
1-0 away win
Injured:Trevor Clark, Dave McAllister, Luke Byrne.
City return to @SSEAirtricityLg action this weekend as @ShamrockRovers visit the Brandywell on Saturday. KO 5pm.— Derry City FC (@derrycityfc) September 20, 2018
Tickets are available now from outlets and also online here: https://t.co/pXz3nyey4S#RAWA28 pic.twitter.com/0OOZ05zz5e