Brandywell backing crucial for St Pat's FAI Cup tie says Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins
After a gruelling schedule that has seen Higgins’ in-form troops play SEVEN games in 28 DAYS across fixtures that have taken them as far afield as the Faroe Islands, Finland and Kazakhstan, the Brandywell boss had nothing but praise for the manner in which the club’s supporters have rallied behind the team in their bid to win silverware.
After the heartbreak of Tallaght on Thursday, the latest step on that road is the defence of the FAI Cup they won so memorably at the Aviva Stadium last season and despite St. Pat’s being expected to bring upwards of 400 travelling fans, Higgins is backing the ‘Red and White Army’ to once again turn out in large numbers and ensure the Brandywell is a place visiting teams will fear to tread.
"After this weekend’s FAI Cup tie, our next three games are away from home so this is real opportunity for our supporters to come out in numbers and lift the team again,” explained the City boss, “Thursday’s atmosphere was superb, and full credit to everyone who travelled but hopefully we can make Sunday even better.
"It’s another tough game against a very good St. Patrick’s Athletic side but with the atmosphere our supporters create at the Brandywell – especially for cup ties – it’s a game for everyone should be relishing,” explained the City boss.
“It’s has been a busy few weeks and that’s not just for the players; that schedule includes the fans who have been absolutely magnificent for us. The players, the management and everyone at the club fully appreciates the superb support we receive, home and away.
"From what we have heard St Pat’s will be travelling with a considerable support themselves but hopefully our supporters turn out as they always do for what should be a cracking cup tie.”
Having handed Tadhg Ryan his Derry City debut in the last round against Athlone Town, Higgins may be tempted to bring the former Bohemians man in for a second start of the season as he seeks to rotate his squad after the exertions of Thursday’s epic euro tie in Tallaght.
“We have a couple of days now to prepare for St Pats,” explained Higgins after the Conference League loss, “We spoke about it in the changing room. It’s our trophy at the minute and we have to be tough over the next few days - we have to show real resolve and get ready for a huge game on Sunday because that’s what it is.
"I think our supporters will know that the players will need them on Sunday. When our players and supporters work together it’s a really strong force and we’re going to need that on Sunday.”
“I can do nothing but thank the supporters. We’re a special football club and that’s been evident again through the European campaign,” he added.
“The Torshavn game and the noise they made that night; the night against KuPS when we went 1-0 behind at half-time - the impact the crowd made then and the impact the crowd made on Thursday and hopefully they can make another big impact on Sunday.
“I’m just really proud to be manager of this football club when you see how it's represented by its supporters and players.”