DECLAN Devine is delighted to be playing a high profile match against St. Patrick’s Athletic tonight, despite the fact that his players are still hurting following Friday’s 4-1 demolition at Turner’s Cross. (7.45 p.m.)
And the fact that Derry have flattered to deceive at the Brandywell over recent weeks, has made Devine even more determined to see his players bounce back.
“I’m delighted that we have a match coming so soon after the defeat in Cork,” he said.
“This may sound silly, but we will face St. Pat’s in a confident frame of mind. Our players do not become bad players overnight and now it’s time to get our pride and confidence back if we are to finish the season on a high,” he added.
He insisted that a win in the league at the Brandywell, would give everyone associated with the club a boost.
“It’s so important at this stage of the season that we get back to winning matches and we do believe that we’ve not had the rub of the green in certain recent games.
“But the players believe that we are more than capable of reigniting the spark which we enjoyed earlier this season and finish the campaign strongly.
“Yes, we’ve been going through a tough period, but we really are not a million miles away from producing similar performances to those which we exhibited during the early stages of this year.
“There’s not too much wrong with us that can’t be fixed, but the St. Pat’s match will certainly prove to be a stern test of our character.”
The Brandywell boss asked his players to adopt a positive frame of mind and do everything in their power to give a good account of themselves on home soil.
“We must try to move on quickly, adopt a positive frame of mind and with home games against St. Pat’s on Tuesday and Shelbourne this Saturday on the horizon, it’s time for us to get back to basics and put recent results behind us.”
He felt that St. Pat’s would travel north with a point to prove, given their surprising 1-1 result at home to Bohemians last weekend.
“To be fair to them, they have enjoyed a superb 2013 season so far, but I don’t believe they will relish the trip to the Brandywell to face us.
“There’s no doubt that they were bitterly disappointed when dropping two points to Bohemians, especially with Dundalk leap-frogging them into top spot in the table.
“So I think the motivation is there for both teams as we also have a point to prove,” insisted the Creggan man.
Claiming that a victory over the former Premier Division leaders would restore confidence levels “on and off the pitch,” the Derry boss refused to lose faith in the ability of his playing staff.
“We really do need a win which, I believe, will boost confidence levels on and off the pitch as we would like to finish the current season strongly and we’re certainly capable of that.”
But did he believe that the demolition in Cork last weekend would have any impact on his playing staff this evening?
“I don’t believe it will. Our performance in Cork was good despite the end result, but the scoreline did not reflect the overall play. There were turning points in the match which saw our heads drop.
“I felt we were the victims of some poor decisions by the match officials but, that said, to concede four goals in the way we did was not acceptable at this level.
“While we must be professional and disciplined defensively we must also be ruthless when positioned in front of goal and be more determined when playing in the final third of the pitch.”
Meanwhile, on the team front, Dean Jarvis is considered extremely doubtful tonight as it’s understood the defender may have tweaked his medial ligament.
“It’s obviously a worry for us, but the suspected injury has not been confirmed just yet as we must wait for the swelling to go down.
“He’s been very unlucky since joining us having sustained an ankle injury during his first training session with us. But Dean has been playing extremely well and he was excellent in Cork last Friday night so, hopefully, the injury will not be as bad as first feared,” concluded Devine.
The remainder of the panel which travelled to Cork is available and the team will be selected from that grouping.