Ben Doherty warns title rivals that Derry City won't go away easily

​BEN Doherty has warned Shamrock Rovers the league title race is far from over and promised Derry City will 'stick in there as long as we can' as they attempt to narrow the gap at the top with victory over UCD at the Belfield on Wednesday night.
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Ruaidhri Higgins' troops can close to within four points of Rovers should they win their game in hand against the Students in Dublin ahead of a potential title-deciding clash with the Hoops at Brandywell on September 15th.

An impressive 3-1 win against Dundalk at Oriel Park on Friday kept Derry's hopes of dethroning the champions alive and Doherty claims the City players intend to fight to the bitter end.

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"I think even after last week, the draw at Bohemians everyone was saying 'that's Derry and Bohemians out of it' but this league changes week on week and we'll just have to try and stick in there as long as we can.

Ben Doherty celebrates his goal against Dundalk at Oriel Park. Photographs by Ciaran CulliganBen Doherty celebrates his goal against Dundalk at Oriel Park. Photographs by Ciaran Culligan
Ben Doherty celebrates his goal against Dundalk at Oriel Park. Photographs by Ciaran Culligan

"The focus this week is on each game as it comes and try and pick up three points. Wherever that leads us then that's where it leads us but we can't say we didn't give it everything and that's what we want to be able to turn back and say at the end of the season, 'we gave everything our best'.

UCD sit 17 points adrift at the bottom of the table but Doherty isn't taking anything for granted.

"You can't even look beyond that now. The next game is the most important for us. We give everyone our full respect as we always do.

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"We'll be fully prepared for the UCD game on Wednesday evening. We'll be going there to get three points as well. That's the aim and it has to be from now until the end of the season.

"That's all we can do is look after ourselves. If I had a magic ball I could tell you what's going to happen but we just have to look after ourselves and whatever happens around the grounds, that's out of our hands.

We just have to look after Derry City and three points is what we're aiming for in every game"

Derry boss Higgins has a similar mantra and he's confident his team won't let their guard down.

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"We just need to drive on and try to go to UCD on Wednesday and win," said the City boss. "That's the objective. We need to do that and we need to get ourselves in a good position with seven games to go.

"We have to go and beat UCD on Wednesday night. We certainly won't take anything for granted. We'll prepare the best way possible and go down there and try and get a big win.

“Of course it's a big match, it's our game in hand and we need to put the points on the board. Pat's were fortunate to get a victory at UCD last week so we know it's not going to be as simple as people may feel.

“We need to go down there and be professional like we always try to be and get another three points.”

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Sam Todd, who made his second debut for the club at Oriel Park on Friday night, is likely to make a return to his former stomping ground as Mark Connolly recovers from injury.

Michael Duffy, who was an unused sub against Dundalk, is likely to be available, however, Higgins could stick with Doherty on the left wing.