ST. Patrick’s Athletic may have been crowned the 2013 Premier Division champions, but Derry boss, Declan Devine, expects no favours as he leads his troops to Richmond Park next Friday night.
Having defeated Sligo Rovers 2-0 and with Bohemians netting a late, late equaliser against Dundalk on Friday night, the “Saints” from Inchicore claimed the title with two matches remaining.
And while one would suggest that the club will now enjoy a week of celebrations following their success, Devine refused to take anything for granted this weekend.
“Of course I was happy to see St. Pat’s defeat Sligo for obvious reasons. I’d much rather travel down there knowing that the game meant little to them.
“But I’ve always held the view that we would need to get a result in Inchicore. We have to get something from it. Win it and we finish in fourth, but it’s so important not to lose the game,” he added.
Devine is certainly taking both games seriously as he intends to travel to Thomond Park tomorrow night to watch Limerick host Shelbourne.
“We must continue to prepare professionally as the season has not yet concluded from our point of view. We can’t afford to take anything for granted and that’s why I will be in Limerick to watch their game on Wednesday night, before they travel to the Brandywell next weekend.
“We’ve got to look after our own interests as a fourth placed finish remains in our hands. In fact, I would expect exactly the same hunger and commitment that the players display against Rovers in our final two league games,” claimed Devine.
On the team front, Ryan McBride returns to the panel after his one match ban while Michael Duffy is also expected to be involved provided he returns from Belarus without any difficulty following the N. Ireland Under-21’s involvement in a challenge tournament.
And while Rory Patterson proved to be a surprise omission from the team which faced Shamrock Rovers on Saturday night, Devine insisted that the Strabane man remained a doubt.
“Rory put himself forward to play against Rovers, despite the fact that he felt a pull on his hamstring during our training session on Friday.
“He received around the clock treatment as our medical team tried to get him fit to start, but when it was made clear that even a short sprint could result in a torn hamstring and the problems that would bring, we opted to go with medical guidance and remove him from the squad,” confirmed the Derry boss.
“He is continuing to have treatment this week and his fitness level will be confirmed by our medical team.”
Derry will be expected to provide the traditional ‘guard on honour’ for St. Pat’s this weekend and Devine agreed that he believed they had been the best team this season.
“I still believe there has been very little between the top five teams all season, but the league table doesn’t lie and St. Pat’s have certainly finished their cammpaign strongly.
“However, that does not mean that Liam Buckley will offer us any favours on Friday night, knowing him well I would expect him to remain professional and do everything in his power to add further points to the board before the curtain falls on the season,” conlcuded Devine.