Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins puts out rallying cry for travelling fans ahead of FAI Cup tie at Finn Harps

Manager Ruaidhri Higgins is urging the small band of Derry City fans who are travelling to Finn Harps tonight to make sure they make themselves heard.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Friday, 27th August 2021, 9:00 am
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins.
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins.

The FAI Cup tie is a sell-out and the Candy Stripes will have 80 supporters in attendance as the Donegal side allocated the Brandywell men 10% of their 800 capacity. It not many but Higgins believes even in small numbers the Derry fans will make themselves heard in Ballybofey.

“It’s brilliant as it has been a long time since we have seen opposition colours in away grounds so it will be great to see Derry fans at Finn Park on Friday night. What I would love to do is urge our supporters are in the ground to make as much noise as possible because we’ll need it,” he insisted.

“We would like 280 fans but we have 80 going but I would like them to make the noise of hundreds as it’s really, really important that they keep helping to drive the team on.

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“In recent weeks you have feel the difference at home. Our performances at the Brandywell of late have been superb and I think that has coincided with good crowds coming through the gate and although I’m repeating myself, I would love to the 80 odd fans to make as much noise as possible.”

The Limavady man confirmed that striker James Akintunde is likely to return but revealed defender Cameron McJannet may miss out. The pair missed last week’s win at Sligo Rovers because of a Covid related issues.

“James will be available but it doesn’t look like Cameron will be available. Marc Walsh is still long term, he’s getting closer and he’s getting stronger so we might have him back within the next five or six weeks. We’ll see but as far as I’m aware, James will be available for selection though Cameron possibly not,” he added.

With the two in-form sides in the League of Ireland facing each other tonight, Higgins says the tie has all the makings of being a cracking encounter that could go all the way to penalties to decide the winner, something which his side had to do in the previous round at Drogheda United.

“It’s an evenly matched cup tie, two teams who are in good form and two teams that will be confident of going through.” he explained.

“It will be an exciting game and while it might be frantic in stages, that’s cup football and you don’t get two bites at the cherry in cup ties. You only get one chance so we’ll be having a go at it and seeing where it takes us.

“We saw in Drogheda, a game that I always felt was going to a even match, and it turned out that way. I don’t think this will be much different.

“Obviously I would like us to go through in 90 minutes but if it takes 120 minutes, or penalties, or whatever it maybe, then we’ll have to do it. We’ll be fully focused and doing everything in on power to get through the tie.”

Currently sitting just a point behind third placed Sligo Rovers in the league, Higgins says whatever the outcome this evening his side still has plenty to play for over the remainder of the season.

“We are enjoying our football and no matter what happens on Friday night, hopefully we win, but no matter what happens we still have got plenty to play for,” he insisted.

“We are growing as a team. We are finding different ways to win different games which is very, very important and I think particularly the young players are growing in confidence and belief as we go on. Going through this round of the cup would be huge for everybody.”