Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins ready to face much improved Waterford

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins is expecting a very different Waterford side from the team he faced in May.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 6:00 am

Ronan Boyce’s early header meant the Brandywell men came away from the RSC with a hard fought win, but Higgins believes the Munster men have improved massively as Marc Bircham continues to work with the squad.

That victory in May, was Bircham’s first game in charge of Waterford but since then they have secured a few impressive results. In fact they have only lost once in their last four games and during that run in recent weeks they won at Dundalk and only last week drew 1-1 with joint leaders St Patrick’s Athletic.

“They have improved a lot and we have to respect that, but we also know that we’ve improved and we need to approach the game in the right manner and play on the front foot,” insisted Higgins.

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Derry City's new signing Jamie McGonigle. Picture by George Sweeney

“If we come at the game with the right application then there’s no reason why we can’t win the game.

“They have taken a point against St. Pat’s which is no easy task and they have beaten Dundalk at Oriel Park which we all know is a really difficult place to go.”

Higgins was bitterly disappointed by his side’s first half display against Vinny Perth’s men last week and he expects his players to get ready right from the off tonight at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

“You can’t flick a switch, you have to start a game well and build momentum from it,” he added.

“In fairness to our players we have started a lot of games well this year; that was just a bump in the road and we move on. We’ll be aggressive in our approach to the game and we’ll try and play on the front foot and pick up three points.

"It’s never nice to lose games but I take pleasure in our second half performance and we know if we repeat that second half performance for 90 minutes we’ll win a lot of matches.

“We have to come with the right application; I didn’t think we started the game well enough last week and we got punished for it, so we have to learn from our mistakes and I’m sure we will.”

Last week at Oriel Park, the Limavady native brought on defenders Darren Cole and Ciaran Coll at half-time, but it was his change of system that meant they got back into the game and may have nicked a point as substitute Patrick Ferry hit the woodwork in the closing stages.

The Derry boss wants his players to be comfortable in whatever system he plays and also confirmed that recent signings Jamie McGonigle and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe may be involved in this evening’s squad, but winger Marc Walsh is out long term with a hamstring problem and Danny Lupano has left the club as his loan deal has come to an end.

“It’s part of what we do and we can’t be a slave to one system and you have to be adaptable,” he added. “Although you could say that I brought on two defenders to change the game, I knew that we had to change our shape and we more solid and we gained more control, which then meant we were able to build momentum, so yeah we have to be adaptable.

“Jamie and Junior had their first training session today (Thursday). If they are available, great, but if they aren’t then we’ll move on. Marc Walsh is likely to be out long term but he is our only injury concern.”