Boss Ruaidhri Higgins admits friendship goes out the window as Derry City welcome Stephen O'Donnell's St Patrick's Athletic

Manager Ruaidhri Higgins has confirmed friendships will be set aside for 90 minutes when Derry City host St Patrick's Athletic tomorrow night (KO 5.45pm).

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 1:34 pm

Higgins is close friends with Saints boss Stephen O'Donnell for years and both managers will know each other's style of play very well, but the Limavady man is looking forward to the game.

"I have to say that he's a very, very good friend, even away from football, so yeah while we have a strong relationship, during those 90 minutes we'll be enemies, but I'm sure we'll have a chat after the game," he insisted.

"Look he's a great lad and knows the game inside out, so it's no surprise to me how well he's doing there. It's going to be an interesting game, because look he was an amazing player and in my time in the League of Ireland in terms of turning up for big games, I think he was right up there with the best League of Ireland players of that generation.

"I know he had his injury problems over his career, but in terms of performing in big, big games, he was exceptional. So while he was a very good footballer and knows the game inside out, he'll be coming here hoping to take the three points, as will we, so we have to remain professional and do our best for our respective clubs."

The Candy Stripes made it 10 points from a possible 12 on the road, since Higgins' appointment, but in his two matches at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, the Limavady man is still looking for that first home success on the 4G Brandywell pitch.

"We'll prepare for every game at the Brandywell to win it and tomorrow will be no different," he insisted.

"It's a game we want to win and it's a game we think we can win and we'll get our work done today (Sunday) in preparation for the game and we'll see where it takes us.

"Modern players are used to playing on every type of surface, so it's no excuse. We are in good form, there's momentum, the players are in good spirits, so it's a matter of just keeping that going and trying to keep progressing in the right manner."

With the transfer window opening soon, Higgins admits that he will be looking to strengthen his squad, but also concedes that he's more than happy with the current panel of players.

"Listen the players have been brilliant since I've come in, so if we do bring a few in, it's just a matter of just helping the group, that's here at the minute," he added,

"Those new players will just give us more strength in numbers and yes obviously you have to do your work in the background, as a manager and staff, so we are no different, we'll be working away in the background, but as I said the players here at the minute in time is giving absolutely everything and as I said if we do bring one or two in, it will be to just help the current group that is here."

City welcome back duo Danny Lafferty and David Parkhouse from suspension, but Marc Walsh is struggling with a hamstring problem.