BRANDYWELL boss, Declan Devine, refused to describe tomorrow night’s match against Shamrock Rovers as a “must win” situation, as both sides battle to finish in fourth spot in the Premier Division table.
However, there’s no guarantee that a fourth place finish would secure Europa League qualification next season as a Drogheda victory over Sligo in the FAI Cup final would dismiss the challenge of both clubs.
But Devine did agree that a repeat of last April’s 2-1 win would more or less guarantee a top four finish.
“There’s nothing guaranteed in finishing in fourth as Rovers discovered to their cost last season,” he noted.
“Had we lost the cup final to St. Pat’s, they would have qualified for Europe, so all we can do is try to give ourselves the best possible chance should Sligo win the FAI Cup final next month,” added Devine.
With Derry currently three points clear of the Dubliners, would Devine settle for a share of the spoils at this stage?
“We will be set up to try and win the match, there’s absolutely no point in sitting back and inviting Shamrock Rovers onto us,” he answered.
“And I’ve no doubt they will travel up here confident of getting the result they need which would bring them level with us with two matches remaining.
“They have a top quality squad, probably boasting the top 20 players in the league. Even Eamon Zayed can’t get into the team and with Mark Quigley coming on as a sub in Sligo last week, it’s very difficult to predict what Rovers team will be put out to play against us this weekend.”
Disappointed at Ryan McBride’s additional suspension, Devine was predictably concerned about the central defensive berths.
“I believe Shane (McEleney) will make it, and that’s very important given Ryan’s suspension. But either Barry Molloy or Dean Jarvis will move into the centre, both having played in that position on a number of occasions this season.
“Ryan will be a huge loss to us, but I’m happy with what we have. Naturally, I would love to have all the players available but I’m happy that those brought in will feed off the confidence we gain following the defeat of Shelbourne.
“We’ve got to build on that and I believe if we can put in a good performance against Rovers with our support solidly behind us, then I feel we will get the result we need.
“A win would take us six points clear, requiring just one point from our final two games and should St. Pat’s overcome Sligo at Inchicore on Sunday, then I believe they will have won the league.
“And our fixture next Friday is against Pat’s at Richmond Park,” he concluded.
Derry’s final game will be at the Brandywell against Limerick while Rovers’ final two games are away to UCD and at home to Sligo Rovers.