Declan Devine’s Candystripes know that all they need is a point to secure Europa League qualification on Friday evening when they welcome Finn Harps to the Brandywell (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
Derry City fell to a bitterly disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic last time out, a result that has left City boss Devine furious.
While Harps have the distraction of a promotion/relegation playoff final to cast their eye on, Devine insists that will have no bearing on the game this evening.
“It’s a North West derby and they are never anything other than tough” he began.
“Harps came here in the League Cup with players missing and they proved a handful then, so we are preparing for exactly that- a tough game.”
“We let ourselves down on Tuesday night, but we have another chance on Friday and we have to approach it correctly.”
“This club, this group of players deserve European football for their efforts over the course of the season, but they have to earn it.”
“The boys know what they have to do, and this is their chance to do it.”
Derry have no injury issues to contend with ahead of the visit of Harps to the Brandywell, with Gerardo Bruna returning from injury.
With the distraction of a playoff to look forward to, Finn Harps travel to Derry City knowing that they can put a real dent in the Candystripes Europa League hopes.
However, Ollie Horgan is expected to ring the changes ahead of the playoff first-leg on Monday evening.
Harps will face either Drogheda or Cabinteely away on Monday night before the home playoff second leg on Friday at Finn Park.
That tie sits at one all ahead of the decider at United Park on Friday night where extratime.ie will have live commentary at United Park.
“We’ll be trying to get something out of it even if Monday is the priority for us. We have a lot of people carrying injuries and knocks and Friday will be too soon to risk them.
“Some may not make any of the remaining three games. Lads will get a chance tomorrow night in a hugely difficult game; our squad has a lot of players of a similar standard so that’s one thing in our favour.
“We had a full team going in there before and got hammered, but we will make it as difficult as possible.”
In team news, Sam Todd is suspended as Ciaran Gallagher’s season is over after an injury on Monday.
Mark Timlin is also rated as doubtful having pulled up against Waterford last time out.
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Finn Harps have only won one of their previous six games, with the recent win over Waterford sealing their place in the promotion/relegation playoff final against either Cabinteely or Drogheda United.
The Candystripes have only failed to score against their Northwest rivals once this season, in the recent derby clash at Finn Park in July.
Ollie Horgan’s side have registered three clean sheets in their previous four league outings – with only Shamrock Rovers scoring against the Co. Donegal side.
Derry City 1/14; Draw 17/2; Finn Harps 22/1.
Derry City 4 - 0 Finn Harps.
Injured: Ciaran Gallagher.
Doubtful: Mark Timlin.
Suspended: Sam Todd.