Brendan Rogers believes Derry go into Sunday’s Ulster Championship Quarter-final showdown with Tyrone with a clean slate despite the Oak Leafers’ wretched recent record against the Red Hands.
It’s six years since Derry defeated Tyrone in any competition but the Slaughtneil defender claimed the Oak Leaf players should be relishing the opportunity to set that record straight.
We have a chance to compete with the best in the Championship. That’s where you want to be. You want to raise your game for these days.Brendan Rogers
“Tyrone are up there with the top teams, not just in Ulster, but in Ireland at the minute,” explained the Emmet’s player.
“They won the competition last year and while we didn’t have good league form this year, we have a chance to compete with the best in the Championship. That’s where you want to be. You want to raise your game for those days and it’s a derby game, which is the best bit about it.”
“It’s always a clean slate – every game. That’s the kind of mental resolve that you need to have when you’re playing at this level because performances can change from week to week. It’s unpredictable.
“Coming into any game, you can never dwell on the past, or any other factors because it’s never going to be the same. That’s why we’re looking forward to this game. It’s clean slates for everybody and we’re certainly hoping that we can do ourselves a bit of justice and improve upon last year’s result.”
Rogers has tasted Ulster success with his club but stressed it is unfair to try and compare that with Derry’s championship wait.
“The comparison between Slaughtneil and Derry is night and day.It’s a completely different team, and a different set-up,” explained Rogers.
“It’s nice going in as underdogs. You really have no pressure and I think in the situation we find ourselves in, you know that a lot of people will be backing Tyrone.
“At the end of the day, Tyrone are the reigning Ulster champions so they have a lot more to lose than what we do. It means that we can just go and express ourselves and hopefully come out on top.”