DERRY CITY: We are not title challengers warns cautious Shiels

Kenny Shiels.  DER0616GS

Kenny Shiels. DER0616GS

DERRY CITY boss, Kenny Shiels insists his side will not be challenging for the league title this season and has urged fans to temper expectations despite a hugely promising start to the Premier Division campaign.

The ‘Candy Stripes’ can go clear at the top of the table if they avoid defeat against third placed Shamrock Rovers at Brandywell Stadium tonight. (K.O. 7.45 p.m.)

I’m a very ambitious person and I need the people around me to be ambitious. But we have to manage this in stages and look to get into the top six, consolidate a top six position and then challenge for Europe towards the last third of the season.

Kenny Shiels

It would be a significant achievement given Derry will have played three of those genuine favourites for the title, Dundalk, Cork City and Rovers and having played four of their opening seven games away from home.

However, Shiels says fans shouldn’t get carried away with their early season success as he concentrates on the visit of Pat Fenlon’s Rovers side who have dropped just three points from their opening fixtures.

“We’re not going to challenge for the league title this season,” said Shiels. “There has to be some form of realism in terms of what we have and where we can go with it. To break into the top five would be something we really want to achieve.

“I’m a very ambitious person and I need the people around me to be ambitious. But we have to manage this in stages and look to get into the top six, consolidate a top six position and then challenge for Europe towards the last third of the season.

“That’s being realistic,” he continued. “If we were fifth or sixth at that stage and within a few points of the top three, that’s where we want to be going into that last third.

“If we get a good result against Rovers, it gives us a good measurement against the top teams. We will have played three of the ‘big five’ and it would certainly give us confidence going into other games - but not over-confidence,” he stressed.

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