Derry City boss Ruaidhrí Higgins aiming for Shamrock Rovers win
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Higgins knows there’s going to be a party-like atmosphere in Dublin on Sunday, as Stephen Bradley’s men will be presented with the Premier Division trophy after the game, but regardless of that the Derry boss wants his players to show what they are made off.
In the previous four games, Derry have more than held their own against the Hoops this season, in fact they have deservedly picked up two victories and although Rovers secured a home win when the sides met in May and a point at the Brandywell in August, the Candy Stripes if truth be told should have done better in both those matches.
Although the Dubliners took on Gent in the Europa Conference League last night, Higgins expects them to well up for the game, especially in front of what's likely to be a packed Tallaght Stadium.
"The game is live on TV against the champions and obviously there's going to be a bit of a party atmosphere down there and it's up to us to be professional and focus on what we're doing. We'll obviously try to put in a good performance and win the game,” he insisted.
"They'll definitely be motivated and I know they played Gent last night, so we'll see what team they play on Sunday, but the night they get presented with the trophy they're going to want to win the game. The pressure will be off them as well so that might help them, but we're happy with the direction we're going in.
"I think Rovers would admit that they've had really difficult fixtures against us this year and they would appreciate the run we're on as well, so they'll know it's not going to be easy and we're going down there trying to win the game."
The Limavady man knows it will be a tough task against Rovers, but as his side is unbeaten domestically in 20 games, Higgins wants that run to continue for the remainder of the season and he also knows that Rovers will be impressed by that run of results.
In fact, Derry's last loss domestically came at the Sligo Showgrounds when the home side secured a 2-1 win thanks to Seamus Keogh’s stoppage time winner way back in May, since then only Riga have defeated the Brandywell men twice in the Europa Conference League.
"We're 20 games unbeaten domestically and the only defeats we've had since May 23rd were the Riga games, so the players have to be really proud of what they've done, but we know that we're coming into a really important two weeks,” admitted Higgins.
"Obviously if we can't win the league, which we can't then you have to secure European football, which we did with a few games to spare and if we're being totally honest the priority now is the cup final but we also still want to finish in second place, so because of that we want to go down to Shamrock Rovers and win and as I said because it's live on TV, we want to show the people in Ireland and the football people in Ireland, what we're capable off.”