Derry City will be going all out for a win as they seek to give themselves a chance of qualifying for Europe when they face Limerick in the final league game of the season at the Brandywell on Friday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Three points will guarantee fourth spot for the Candystripes which will only be enough for European football if Sligo Rovers defeat Drogheda United in the FAI cup final.
Derry will once again be well down in numbers for the game with long term absentees Kevin Deery and Stewart Greacen still out, Shane McEleney is also struggling with flu while Ruaidhri Higgins is nursing a hip problem and Paddy Kavanagh and Thomas Crawley are both carrying knocks. Top marksman Rory Patterson, who missed last weeks game with a hamstring strain, is expected to be fit.
Speaking ahead of the game, Declan Devine said, "I'm looking forward to the match. There is a big prize at the end of it if Sligo win the cup. It's just a case of getting ready for Friday and making sure when we take the field we're determined and focused on getting three points. We're on a good run and we're playing quite well with a young side.
“Unfortunately Limerick are playing well themselves. They've been on a very good run so they will give us a tight game and they will be tough opposition. But it's a game that can get us that fourth spot and if we play the way we've been playing in recent weeks there's no reason why we can't get a result."
Derry will be looking for their experienced players Simon Madden, Barry Molloy and Rory Patterson to lead from the front as they attempt to secure fourth place.
Limerick will be playing to be the pride of Munster as they attempt to overhaul Cork City and finish in sixth place as they head to the Brandywell on Friday. If Cork are defeated by champions St Pats, a point will be enough to see them finish ahead of their local rivals.
They will travel north without long term injury victims Shane Tracey who is still struggling with a knee problem and Stephen McGann who has a foot problem. Patrick Nzuzi also sits out through suspension after picking up eight yellow cards. Stephen Folan and Samuel Oji return to the panel after sitting out bans. Limerick lost on their last visit to the Brandywell with two late Derry goals seeing them win 2-1.
Manager Stuart Taylor commented, "Right now, we’re in a better place defensively than what we were back then. We’re looking to come away with three points this time. But again, it’s about finishing the season on a high and there’s nothing better than winning the last game of the season.
“We’re on a good run just now and we want to finish it on a high. It’s going to be a difficult game going up there, with the journey and obviously The Brandywell is not an easy place to play. But we’re going up there with a strong squad and we’re looking to come away with the right result.
“Sixth is definitely achievable. Cork have got St. Pat’s and I’m sure St. Pat’s will want to finish the season on a high and win their last game even though the title is in the bag. They’ll want to finish well and we’re no different. We’re looking to go and get a victory, but if we draw and Cork lose then we’ll still finish sixth. That’s our target and hopefully we’ll achieve it.
A couple of experienced players come back in,” he explained. “But, generally, there’ll still be a reasonable amount of young players playing, to give them experience for next season. It has been a good end to the season, definitely.”
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Derry City have won four of the last five fixtures between the sides.
Limerick have won four of their last six games.
A win guarantees Derry fourth spot and possible European qualification.
Derry City 8/15 Draw 11/4 Limerick 5/1
Derry City 2 vs Limerick 1
Injured: Kevin Deery (knee), Paddy Kavanagh (hamstring), Thomas Crawley (groin), Stewart Greacen (knee), Shane McEleney (flu), Ruaidhri Higgins (hip).
Injured: Shane Tracey(knee), Stephen McGann(foot).
Suspensions: Patrick Nzuzi.