Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins delighted to be in the European conversion
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins admits his team being part of the conversion for a possible European place is a credit to his players.
The Candy Stripes face third placed Sligo Rovers at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight (KO 7.45pm) in their final home game of the season and Higgins wants to finish the season on a positive note.
“I’m being brutally honest, if on April 23rd someone had offered me 40 plus points I would have taken it and ran,” he insisted.
“We have racked up a really good points tally, there’s no getting away from that. Yes, we have had a few draws recently and we need to turn those draws into wins but hopefully we can do that over the next few weeks.
“But yeah, it has been a good season. We have had positive progression and let’s see if we can finish the season on a high. There’s a good buzz around the ground at the minute, people are getting right behind the team and we want that to continue. Hopefully it’s just the start of really good things here.”
The Limavady man knows that they aren’t going to get everything their own way against Liam Buckley’s side who are still aiming to over take second placed St Patrick’s Athletic after three victories in a row sees them sit just four points behind ‘The Saints’ with two games remaining.
“Sligo have been on an unbelievable run of form recently and cemented their position,” added Higgins. “Bohs had a good win against Drogheda so it’s all to play for but we can only focus on Friday night and try to beat whatever is in front of us and see where we go.
“Sligo have got good players and they have really experienced players who are seasoned campaigners, so it was no surprise that they went on a run of wins.
“I think the league in general has been unbelievably close. I have never seen anything like it, from us and second bottom it’s only eight points difference. Normally both (Finn) Harps and Waterford would be safe by a number of points if they had 40 points in any other season. They have all had good seasons in relation to where they are as clubs.
“It’s strange that there’s competition to get into Europe. Even with two games remaining there’s very few teams that have nothing to play for. Sligo are fighting for second place as they are still not out of that. It’s amazing with a week left in the season that so many teams have something to play for.”
Derry travel to fellow fourth place hopefuls Dundalk next Friday night for their final game of the season and Higgins isn’t surprised that his old club, who on Wednesday evening saw a local consortium end Peak6’s controversial ownership, are still challenging for a European place despite all their off field problems they had this season.
“I never felt for one second that Dundalk were gone, because of the squad of players they have,” he added,
“Regardless of what’s been going on behind the scenes, they have a squad that is more than capable of competing to win a league. So it’s no surprise that they have put a run of good results together with the quality that they have. However, from our point of view we’ll worry about the Dundalk game after the Sligo match which is the only thing me and the squad is focusing on.”