PAUL HEGARTY isn’t one for making bold predictions and refuses to make an estimate on how many points it will take to secure Derry City’s Premier Division survival.
With 12 points available from the final four matches and just six points separating the bottom six teams, Hegarty claims it’s anyone’s guess as to the points total which will guarantee safety this season.
However City’s caretaker boss knows tonight’s clash with sixth place Bray Wanderers is a glorious opportunity to put the pressure on the teams below them and edge ever closer to their survival target - whatever that may be.
And despite being without skipper, Ryan McBride and Aaron Barry (both suspended), he insists his side will be going all out for victory.
“Nobody knows what it’s going to take to stay up this year,” said Hegarty. “All we’re looking at is Friday night’s game and we’ll see where we’re at after that and take it from there. Then we’ll take the next game on its own merits as well.
“We’ve stressed the importance of this match this week in training and the boys have taken everything on board.
Nobody knows what it’s going to take to stay up this year. All we’re looking at is Friday night’s game and we’ll see where we’re at after that and take it from there.Paul Hegarty
“If we beat them we go above them and that’s a massive incentive. We’re looking at that sixth spot.”
The week-long break in action due to Bray’s involvement in the FAI Cup semi-final probably didn’t come at the best time for City who had gathered a bit of momentum after victory over Shamrock Rovers followed by a 1-1 draw in Cork.
However, Hegarty expects his troops to be rejuvenated and ready for a huge clash against the Co. Wicklow side who are currently two points above them.
Derry have yet to defeat Bray this season in two attempts which included a 0-0 draw at Brandywell last April followed by a 1-0 loss at the Carlisle Grounds in July, however, Hegarty is confident his side can secure victory.
“We’ll not know how the break affected us until after Friday night’s match,” said Hegarty. “The break can work both ways. We had a few players carrying a few knocks and it gave them a bit more time to get ready for the match. We’ll know on Friday night whether it was a good thing or bad thing.
“Confidence is a big thing in football,” he continued. “We beat Shamrock Rovers and then went to Cork and got a point. The players can take confidence from those two matches and should have no fear playing anybody in this league.
“However, Bray will look at this game as a winnable one too. They haven’t been conceding too many goals. They have been strong defensively but we will have a go.
“We will try and win every match. We’re going to have a go on Friday night and hopefully we have a bit of luck on our side which you always need to get the three points.”