Derry City have to be ruthless in both boxes - insists boss Ruaidhri Higgins

Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins wants his side to be ruthless in both penalty areas as they prepare to welcome bottom side, UCD, to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight (KO 7.45pm).

By Kevin McLaughlin
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 8:00 am
Derry City's Matty Smith was a threat against Drogheda United, on Monday night. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI
Derry City's Matty Smith was a threat against Drogheda United, on Monday night. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

The Limavady man feels his team’s performances, for large parts in their last two games, has been very good and wants them to carry that form into this evening’s game.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing, keep believing in what we are doing,” explained Higgins.

“More often than not I have been really happy with our performance levels and we just need to try and maintain that and stick to what we believe in and we’ll be okay.

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“We need to be ruthless at both ends. I think when you are the dominate team within games and you give the opposition something to hang on to then it gives them a real lift. It’s important we try and be really ruthless in our mindset and, as I said, keep believing in what we are doing because there’s a lot of good stuff and we’ll start winning games again.”

One man who in recent weeks is starting to show the Derry fans his potential is striker Matty Smith, who has been unlucky not to opening his goalscoring account this season on a few occasions over recent weeks. Higgins, however, believes he and fellow striker, James Akintunde, will have a big impact in the coming weeks.

“Matty to be honest is only getting going as he had a couple of niggling injuries at the start of the season and had Covid. He’s getting himself going and you can see he’s getting sharper every game and he’s getting close to where we want him to be,” stated Higgins.

“Hopefully he can get off the mark as soon as possible but he brings a lot more than just goals. He works his socks off, he’s a threat, he’s direct and he’s getting fitter and sharper. Look, we know, given a bit of time, he’ll have a huge impact on our season.

“The good thing also about James is that he gives us a bit of variety. He was obviously disappointed himself with missing that chance at Drogheda but he got us a big, big winner at Dalymount, he’s put us in front against Shelbourne and he brings so much more to the team.

“He works hard, holds the ball up well, brings other into play, has got good feet and can play in different positions so we just need to remain positive. We know that we have people who can score goals and we need to get back to that real ruthless sort of side that I think we can become.”

Higgins, who confirmed that goalkeeper Brian Maher returns to the squad, is expecting a tough test against the Students, who despite still looking for their first win of the season, have slowly started to show signs of improvement in recent weeks.

“UCD has some really good young players but, yeah, we hope to win and we’ll do everything we can do to win,” he added.

“They have had a couple of results very recently where they have been unlucky. They went to Sligo and they should have won but they drew 2-2 and they lost to a last minute winner against St Pat’s on Monday night.

“They are very much in all their matches and it took us to the 65th minute to break the deadlock down there so it’s not going to be straight forward.

“We need to keep doing what we are doing and keep believing in what we are doing.”