Brennan insists Oaks will need no favours

Derry manager John Brennan. (1001PG33)
Derry manager John Brennan. (1001PG33)

JOHN Brennan will not be looking for any favours from other teams ahead of this weekend’s crucial Allianz National Football League Division Two clash with Louth at Celtic Park on Sunday. (Throw-in: 2.30 p.m.)

Michael Wilson reports

In what is one of the closest divisions for years, Derry are one of four teams currently sitting on four points with only three points separating second placed Kildare from bottom of the table, Louth.

Brennan’s side still have an outside chance of a top two finish, but that would require other teams to defeat those above them in the table, something the Derry manager is not pinning his hopes on. The Lavey man insisted he prefers to concentrate on matters within his control, starting with claiming the two points against the ’Wee County.’

“We hope to have the same panel that we had against Meath for this Sunday,” explained the Derry manager, “Thankfully, around the time of the three week break we got some of our injured players back so we‘re in a better condition than other weeks but we don’t want to complain about injuries. We have good enough players.

“We have a team there that’s good enough and they have to be good enough to beat Louth. It’s vital we get the two points this weekend. Westmeath had an unexpected result last weekend and if they keep winning, then our last match away in Mullingar is an almighty game but we cant think about it. This weekend is the game that has to be won.”

It is testament to how tight the table is that six teams are involved in the battle at both the top and the bottom of the table.

“The two points would leave us on six and would be massive,” added the Derry manager, “There are, I think, four teams sitting on four points and three points separating second from bottom. It is down to the last two matches for everyone apart from Tyrone.

“Some teams might do others a favour and vice versa but we are not looking for favours and we certainly won’t be doing anyone else any favours. We have to look after our own house and that means simply winning these two matches.”

Meanwhile, Louth dangerman Paddy Keenan remains very doubtful for the Celtic Park clash after missing last week’s defeat to Kildare, their third reversal in succession, with a hamstring injury.

That match in Celtic Park coupled with the final game of the league season against Meath in Navan have become must win games according to Louth manager, Peter Fitzpatrick, who believes his side need four points to stay in Division Two.

“We’ve two games left and we know ourselves if we don’t get four points we’ll be playing Division Three football next year, We need to win the two matches to stay up.

“We tried to rectify the defensive problems but it seems that teams are coming in waves against us and it seems impossible at times to stop them.

“We are in a dog fight but our main focus is to try and avoid relegation in our next two games,” added the Sylvesters’ man.