Derry City v Shamrock Rovers, Maginn Park, 7.45pm
Having thrown away three points in the closing stages in Markets Field’s last Saturday night, Kenny Shiels will be urging concentration from his players when they host Stephen Bradley’s Shamrock Rovers tonight at Maginn Park.
The Candystripes are a single point ahead of the Hoops and will be looking to repeat the victory earlier in the season in Tallaght Stadium as both side look to close the gap with the top three. Shiels side are unbeaten in 6 games but only have one win in ten games and this has seen them lose ground to Bray and Dundalk in the race for the European places. The Hoops are also unbeaten in 7 games and their home victory of Dundalk the stand out result from the current run.
City continue to tinker with formation, opting for a back three in Limerick last week but the manager refused to be drawn on whether that formation would be retained for Rovers. The City boss, speaking to the media this week, heaped the pressure on the visitors, pointing to their close season recruitment.
“I’m amazed that, despite everything we have gone through this season, we are a point ahead of Shamrock Rovers going into the latter part of May.
They have taken the two best players from Dundalk, they have taken players from England, they have brought in so many good players that it’s unbelievable that we are a point ahead of them and that gives us some hope.”
Shiels conceded some disappointment that his side has not been able to turn some of the recent draws into victory but also sought to find some positives in the performances of his squad.
“The satisfaction we can take from the games we haven’t won is that we have been dominant in them all practically with a very inexperienced team,” he said.
“The learning that is going on in there has been absolutely fantastic for the young boys.
“Whilst that learning is going on, they are getting better and better and when they encounter those similar scenarios again, they will have learned from those experiences and they will deal with it better.
“There are areas which I feel we need to improve and we have looked at that this week and we are addressing them. The boys have worked hard and they are fully aware of what is expected.”
In terms of team news, Lukas Schubert is available for selection once again, whilst Rory Patterson remains a long term absentee. For the visitors Sean Boyd misses out through suspension but former Derry youngster Darren Meenan returns after suspension. Paul Corry is a long term absentee for the Hoops, but Ryan Connolly is available for selection.
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