Sligo Rovers take on Derry City in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division in The Showgrounds on Friday night, kick-off 7:45pm.
Gerard Lyttle wouldn’t have been impressed with his side’s performance last week, which saw a second-half goal by Limerick’s Darren Dennehy serve a huge sucker punch for the Bit O’Red and it wouldn’t have been the start Lyttle and his staff would have hoped for.
To be honest, Rovers posed very little threat against the Shannonsiders and if it wasn’t for the excellent goalkeeping by Micheál Schlingermann throughout the second half it could have been a heavier deficit.
The defeat on Friday may have influenced Lyttle to add to an already packed squad, but the additions of Patrick McClean, Calum Waters and Mitchell Beeney, who all joined the club this week, can only be a positive.
This fixture was originally scheduled to be the first at the newly refurbished Brandywell Stadium, but due to delays, it was later rescheduled to the Showgrounds in Sligo.
A home victory against a local rival will surely be enough of an incentive for Rovers to perform better. Of course, it was only the first week for what was a fairly new-look Rovers side under the guidance of Lyttle and Kevin Deery.
Speaking before the game, Lyttle said: “The focus is to get points on the board. It was a disappointment last week. But I don’t think it was all doom and gloom in terms of performance.
“There were some positive signs and the lads did some of what we asked. But we need to create more chances and improve on other elements.
“Even before our signings this week, we had good players. Now you see it further with strength in the squad and from the day I came to the club, I’ve wanted it.
“There has been a good feeling around the club this week on the back of the signings and it has lifted us. The players who get the spot in the team know they have to do enough to keep it every week,” he said.
On Derry City, he added: “They had the same disappointment as us and they’re a very good side. Kenny also has a lot of new players in the squad and they have a lot of quality.
“We have to improve and we’ve been working throughout the week with that in mind.
“We'll see where we are with the new boys and if they will be able to figure.”
It hasn’t gone to plan for the Candy Stripes so far this year. The stadium delay didn’t help their pre-season plans, while a waterlogged pitch at Waterford last Friday meant playing in the most difficult of circumstances.
New signing Armin Aganovic gave Derry City the lead in the south east, but they failed to capitalize on their advantage and conceded two sloppy goals against Alan Reynolds newly promoted, Waterford United.
The departures of Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis, Barry McNamee and Lukas Schubert means it may take this squad some time to adapt, but they need too pick up points and quickly with another away trip to Bohemians on Tuesday night.
Kenny Shiels will hope to return to the Brandywell for Dundalk on March 2, but the club hasn’t confirmed that at this time.
A busy transfer week for Derry City who brought in defenders Niall Logue and Jack Doyle (on loan from Blackburn Rovers), while fullback Conor McDermott extended his stay until 2020.
Speaking on Twitter, McDermott, said: “Delighted to extend my deal with Derry until 2020! Looking forward to the rest of the season starting with a big game tomorrow against Sligo!”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
The last affair at the Showgrounds ended in a 3-0 victory for the home side.
There have been 12 goals in the last five games between the two.
Since 2015, Sligo Rovers and Derry City have both won three apiece, while there have been four draws in all competitions.
Sligo Rovers 19/10; Draw 21/10; Derry City 6/4
Sligo Rovers 1 - 1 Derry City
Injured: Regan Donelon (Hamstring); Raff Cretaro (Hip); John Mahon (Knee)