Derry City v Shamrock Rovers, 7.45pm, Brandywell
Stephen Kenny makes his first League return to the Brandywell tomorrow night as boss of Shamrock Rovers, and as a boss under extreme pressure. Kenny saw his Hoops side dumped out of Europe midweek and the defending champions League form has seen them drop off the pace and join Derry City in the middle third.
However it hasn’t been plain sailing for Declan Devine as for the secodn time since the mid season break he saw his side throw away a lead late in the game to draw 1-1 with struggling Dundalk last week. City dominated that game for long stages and really should have been out of sight having hit the front through David McDaid. However Dundalk pounced from a corner and Shiels headed home the equaliser.
Indeed City haven’t won a League game in the Brandywell sicne the 21st of May and with a fired up Rovers side in town, it will be quite a challenge for the home side. The visiting boss is targeting the three points ““It is a big opportunity for us. If we win we can reduce the gap between ourselves and the league leaders to seven points. We need to go out and play well and take that opportunity. There is no doubt that we will be looking to win the game against Derry.”
He will have to plan without Aaron Greene, whilst doubts linger over the match fitness of Oman and Gartland. City have their own well publicised injury list, but Mark Farren returned last week and Higgins is also available after suspension this time around. Greacen, Patterson and Deery remain long term absentees, and Conor Murphy is suspended for a cumulative number of bookings between his spell for Monaghan and Derry. New signing Rooney was named on the bench last week and he provides another option for Devine should the need arise.
Devine will no doubt be trying to instill in his team the need to replicate the performances earlier in the season at Tallaght. City humbled the Hoops 3-0 in the Setanta and then nabbed a 1-1 draw in the League. However Stephen Kenny will point to the 2-0 victory for his side in the second leg of that Setanta semi as evidence that his side can take all three points.
Tickets are available from the Derry City Office, Social Club and all usual outlets.