City’s U19s face the Dubliners at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium aiming to become only the second Candy Stripes side ever to win the prestigious competition.
“I think these types of matches are absolutely crucial to be honest with you, crucial in relation to players making the jump,” stated Higgins.
“At under 19 level it’s probably the closest you can get to emulating playing for the first team. There’s a bit of pressure in the game, supporters in the ground and there’s a trophy to be won.
“It will be good for me as first team manager to look at the individuals playing and see where we are at but it’s a fantastic experience for the players. The final will be between two clubs who are trying to do things right and I expect the final to be exciting.”
Higgins, who celebrated his 37th birthday on Saturday, believes the standard of under 19 football throughout the country is very high.
“I have been to a number of the 19s’ games and the standard at that level is extremely high,” he added. “I know people can be critical, say for example, the pace of the games in the under 23 league in England, but I have been hugely impressed by the intensity of the under 19s’ games and the quality of players, not only at our club, but at other clubs.
“I think Gerald Boyle, Shaun Holmes and Jim McGuinness have done outstanding work and it obviously goes without saying that the players are buying into what they are doing.
“A lot of them are looking to have good careers in the game and they can do if they keep working hard and developing under their coaches. League of Ireland clubs aren’t scared to put young players in any more.
“The final is a game I’m looking forward to and it would be great to see some of the ardent Derry City supporters coming back out again and giving the young lads a boost.”