Derry City v Cork City: Everything you need to know about tonight's match at Brandywell - team news, tickets, where to watch, betting odds, weather and more
From kick-off time, expected line-ups and the weather forecast, here's your go-to guide for tonight's first league match of 2023 at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium where Derry City take on last season's First Division champions Cork City.
Optimism is high on Foyleside as Derry go in search of a first league title since 1997 and that's reflected in the huge demand for tickets for this opening home match of the campaign.
The President's Cup win over Shamrock Rovers saw a bumper crowd get behind Ruaidhri Higgins' troops and the atmosphere at this one is expected to reach fever pitch.
Check out some of our pre-match previews with Ruaidhri Higgins and Cork City defender and former Candy Stripe Ally Gilchrist.
What time does the match kick-off?
Kick-off time is 7.45p.m however, the club advise supporters to arrive early to allow sufficient time because Future Ticketing representatives will be examining the tickets to make sure everyone has the correct ticket category. Also, given the recent issues with flares at the ground, there is expected to be 'robust' searches carried out by matchday security on arrival. The gates will open at the earlier time of 6.30pm. to avoid delays.
What's the team news?
Derry City are missing key trio Michael Duffy (calf), Cameron Dummigan and Cameron McJannet (both hamstring) and long term absentees Ciaron Harkin and Colm Whelan remain sidelined. Sadou Diallo is suspended.
Higgins was forced into a reshuffle during the St Pat's match last weekend and he may well change it up again for the visit of league newcomers Cork. Ben Doherty, who impressed on his competitive debut in the President's Cup could get the nod in the absence of McJannet although Ciaran Coll did himself no harm with his performance at Richmond Park.
Expect Patrick McEleney to come back into the starting XI but Higgins has no shortage of options in most departments. Meanwhile Cork City will again be without striker Cian Murphy, who is understood to be still a couple of weeks away from full fitness despite being named on the substitutes bench against Bohemians in the 2-1 defeat last weekend, while midfielder Matt Healy is also a doubt for the game in Derry.
Cian Bargary will be hoping to retain his place in Healy’s starting eleven and he is expecting another tough test.
There's no surprises in the betting markets for this one as Derry City are huge 3/10 favourites with Paddy Power and Ladbrokes to clinch a first victory of the league campaign. The Candy Stripes are considered to be Shamrock Rovers' main rivals for the league title this term so there was never going to be much value on a home win here.
It would represent a major shock should Cork City return home with three points but priced at 8/1 for the win, 15/2 with Ladbrokes, surely some punter from the Rebel County will be on this. For the record, it's 15/4 for the teams to share the spoils.
What the manager said. . .
"It's really important we put in a performance on Friday night and try to play on the frontfoot and create chances and be positive in our play," he said.
"It's a sell-out which is fantastic. It's what we want to see and it's up to us to make sure people keep wanting to come back.
What the opposition manager said . .
“We have a massive game to look forward to on Friday, against Derry City. We did okay against Derry last year in the Cup,” said Colin Healy. “They're a serious team. They've got quality all over the pitch, and a very strong squad.
“It's a very big pitch up there, so it's going to be a very tough game, but it's one we're looking forward to. We worked very hard to get back into this division, so now that we're here, we need to step up. They're a very good footballing side. We need to pick our moments and we're going to have to work very hard against them."
Where can I watch the game?
If you're unlucky and didn't get your hands on a ticket for the game, fret not as the match will be streamed live on LOITV. You can purchase a Season Pass which offers you over 400+ matches throughout the season for only E120 or you can purchase individual match passes for E7.
Are there any tickets left?
Cork City didn't take their full allocation of tickets which allowed a small amount to go on general sale. These went to the usual outlets but were snapped up in no time at all. The match is a sell-out with the 3,500 permitted capacity reached.
Can I take my child?
Of course the Brandywell is a family friendly environment and there will be plenty of youngsters enjoying the matchday experience tonight. Children aged five years and over must be accompanied by an adult and must also have a match ticket. Children under five can enter free but will not have an allocated seat and must either stand in front of an adult or sit on their knees.
What’s the weather forecast?
The latest weather forecast tells us this afternoon will be dry with a mix of bright spells and patchy cloud drifting in at times. Moderate north-westerly winds. It's the Brandywell though folks so don't forget your umbrella and wrap up warm regardless of the forecast.