KENNY SHIELS is confident Derry City can continue their outstanding away form and keep alive their FAI Cup hopes as they prepare for another road trip to Wexford Youths for Friday’s quarter-final at Ferrycarrig Park.
The ‘Candy Stripes’ are incredibly unbeaten in 14 of their last 15 away fixtures in all competitions since their shock opening day loss to Finn Harps in Ballybofey.
During that period the Foylesiders’ only blotch on their away record was a narrow 2-1 loss to Cork City at Turners’ Cross back in May.
During the month of August Shiels’ troops registered away wins against Finn Harps (0-5), Bohemians in the FAI Cup third round (0-2) and Shamrock Rovers (0-1) while picking up a well earned point in Bray.
So, despite three extremely difficult away matches coming up in quick succession during the opening weeks of September, including two arduous journeys to Wexford and a visit to Oriel Park to face champions, Dundalk, Shiels can go into that period with some confidence.
The Derry manager insists the FAI Cup is a priority for his side this season and following the heartbreaking home loss to Limerick in the EA Sports Cup semi-final last month, Shiels has urged his players to make amends and reach a second last four clash of the campaign.
We’ll be going there to get something. If that means bringing them back to our place then so be it. It’s a special competition for this club and for the fans.Kenny Shiels
“We’ll be going there to get something,” he insisted. “If that means bringing them back to our place then so be it. It’s a special competition for this club and for the fans.
“The players deserve something for the amount of work they’ve put in over the season so far. And so it would be really disappointing if we didn’t get something at the end, whether that’s Europe or a Cup final. Everybody has worked so hard for that.”
The last time City went to Ferrycarrig Park they clinched a dramatic last ditch 2-1 win and Shiels expects to face another difficult test on Friday night.
Despite going into the game on the back of a seven game unbeaten run in all competitions, the Derry boss claims the form book goes out the window when it comes to cup football.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” he predicted. “We’ve two back-to-back games against Wexford now which is never easy. It’s very much a priority to do well in the FAI Cup and the next game is always your most important.
“It’s not easy going into these games. Especially when it’s such a long journey for us. We’ve got three games away from home in succession starting Friday night.
“If you look at how we’ve done, we’ve won three away games in August, away to Shamrock Rovers, away to Finn Harps, away to Bohemians. We drew away to Bray as well in our fourth away game last month.
“And our home games in August were against St Pat’s (1-1) and Cork (0-0) and the League Cup against Limerick (0-1).
“We got a good return from six of those seven games.
“We want to carry on with those performances. We’ve got to go into the Wexford game with a good attitude and make sure when the whistle goes we’re ready for them.
“However, it’s a difficult venue to go to. It’s a hard game and we’ll be treating it as such.
“Because we’re further up the league than them doesn’t mean anything in a cup fixture,” he concluded.