Boss Ruaidhrí Higgins hoping Derry City continue good form against Finn Harps
Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins felt Derry City’s victory at Finn Harps in July was a big moment in the season.
Ryan Graydon’s equaliser in the closing stages and James Akintunde’s stoppage time winner secured the points at Finn Park and the Candy Stripes haven’t looked back since.
In fact, Derry have picked up an impressive 24 points from a possible 27 since that encounter and Higgins hopes they can continue their good form tomorrow night, at the Brandywell.
"That was a pivotal game in the season and I remember feeling that at full-time,” he stated.
"The game got us going on our run and we played exceptionally well in the second half of that game, so hopefully more of the same this Friday.
"Hopefully we’ll have a packed Brandywell, with the crowd right behind us, the players in good form, so hopefully we can get over the line.”
Derry go into the game looking to secure their sixth league success in a row and Higgins admits no one in their changing room is getting ahead of themselves, by thinking tomorrow evening’s encounter is going to be easy, because of the position both teams find themselves in the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division table.
City sit a massive 42 points above Ollie Horgan’s side, but Higgins is expecting a tough test.
"We have really good characters here at the club and I know a couple of players in particular that if anyone was getting away with things, then they would be nailed on the spot,” he insisted.
"I don’t think there’s going to be any danger of that happening, especially because of those players and the staff, it just wouldn’t happen.
"When you listen to Ollie’s pre-match interviews, he always makes the point that the rivalry makes the games tight and he’s right.
"When we won twice at Finn Park it was 2-1 and it was a 2-2 draw here and we were lucky enough to get away with a point that night when Eoin Toal got a 93rd minute equaliser. These games, whether we’re near the top and they’re near the bottom, something happens when it’s a derby and we expect no different on Friday night.
"However, we’re in good form, we have momentum, we’re playing well and players are confident so, if we’re at it, we can win the game.”
Going into the derby skipper Patrick McEleney is struggling with a groin problem, while Graydon misses out through suspension, but the Limavady man is delighted that all his squad are champing at the bit to be involved in the squad and it’s his job to try and keep everyone happy, a task, which he knows is virtually impossible.
"Ciaron Harkin is obviously out, Patrick has a minor groin problem and Ryan is suspended but after that we aren’t too bad,” he added.
“Although at this stage of the season you would expect to have loads of knocks, bumps and bruises and wee minor things, but everybody wants to be on the pitch at this stage of the season.”