Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins expects fan entertainment as free-scoring Bohemians visit
DERRY CITY manager Ruaidhri Higgins is expecting an exciting tussle between two of the League of Ireland’s form teams when the Candy Stripes host Bohemians at Brandywell tonight. (Kick-off 7.45p.m.)
The mid-season break perhaps came too soon for both sides who were riding on a crest of a wave with Derry unbeaten in five games and Bohemians scoring eight goals during a two game winning run.
Higgins, however, doesn’t expect the league’s short hiatus to have had a detrimental effect on performance and is relishing the prospect of two ‘positive’ teams going all guns blazing in search of three points.
“The way I see it, there was only one weekend without a game so there wasn’t that much rest. The players came back towards the back end of last week and we’ve done a lot of good training and we’re ready to go. The boys are refreshed and the atmosphere in the group is second to none. I can sense there is a great togetherness and hopefully we can take that into the game.
“It should be a good game,” predicted Higgins. “It’s two teams who will have a go and try and win the game. I think Bohemians, in their last five games, have scored 15 goals so they’re free-scoring with loads of good attacking players. They’re just a good side overall but we’re in good form as well, so you’ve two teams who are in decent form going head to head. We’ll see who comes out on top.”
Of the Dubliners’ 23 goals this season, there have been 10 different goalscorers and Higgins knows his team will have to be at their best if they’re to claim victory over Keith Long’s side for a second time this season.
“They have real attacking threat and obviously two of the young lads standing out for everyone to see are Dawson Devoy and Ross Tierney who are scoring goals and creating goals.
Obviously Georgie Kelly has been a brilliant signing for them and has been scoring goals now as well. They’ve got threats in wide areas as well so listen, they’re a very good team but I think we’re a very good team as well.
“I think we’re evolving and getting better week on week and we’re ready for the game.”
Higgins, who won the Setanta Cup with Bohemians back in 2010, expects a different game from the 2-1 win in Dalymount back in April when Cameron McJannet netted a second half brace to clinch three points in dramatic fashion. Since that defeat, Bohemians have won four of their next six games, including a convincing 5-1 win over Dundalk, and scored 16 goals in the process.
“They’ve improved but I also think we’ve improved,” stated Higgins. “That was just my second game but both teams have definitely got better as the weeks have gone on. I’m sure it will be another exciting game.”
While Higgins is refusing to study the league table with 22 games remaining in the campaign, he’s all too aware that three points would see his team go level on points with Bohemians.
“I’m not looking at league tables at all at this moment in time. When seven or eight weeks ago we were in a very difficult position, we’ve released ourselves from the bottom two but, as I said before, there’s nothing to say we can’t creep back in there if we take our eye off the ball.
"But we do have to be ambitious and target the three points in every game we go into. We will look at league tables with seven or eight games to go but at this moment in time we’re not looking at that.”
On the team front, Darren Cole, sent off against Drogheda in City’s last outing, is suspended while Danny Lupano is injured.