The 29-year-old admitted that there will be no hiding places for the Candy Stripes and they have to be ready for a battle at Ballybofey.
“To be honest playing Harps is probably the best game out of the whole fixture list for us after Europe,” he insisted.
“Away to Harps you know you’re going into war. You’ll not be able to hide or escape from anything. But look, put everything aside, it’s a derby.”
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Ruaidhrí Higgins side have only won twice in their last seven meetings against their Donegal neighbours and a close range header from Eoin Toal deep into stoppage time earned City a point when the sides last faced each other in May.
In their other game this campaign, goals from Cameron McJannet and Will Patching ensured Derry picked up the three points at Finn Park, however Filip Mihaljevic’s late penalty ensured it was a nervy finish for the Brandywell men and McEleney is expecting another close encounter this weekend.
“It’s always a tight game and I think (Shamrock) Rovers beat them by the odd goal at Finn Park, a few weeks ago,” he explained.
“In fact we were the same the last time we played there, so we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a show up job, it’s not and it never is, so we have to be right.
“To be honest I know Ruaidhrí will make sure we’re ready for it.”
Having had a difficult few weeks prior to the mid-season break, Derry have returned to winning ways in the league, securing back to back victories over UCD and Bohemians and the ex-Dundalk man wants City to carry that form on as they attempt to close the gap on leaders Shamrock Rovers and regain second spot, by overtaking the Oriel Park side.
In the next few weeks, Derry take on the top two and McEleney feels that the Candystripes have a chance to close that gap on the pair and in Stephen O’Donnell’s side’s case overtake his former club, if they claim the points against Ollie Horgan’s team.