WHILE Derry City will bring down the curtain on the 2013 Airtricity Premier Division season on home soil tonight, team boss Declan Devine was anxious to end what has been a particularly frustrating campaign on a winning note.
Victory, of course, is essential if Derry are to be included in the Europa League next summer but the Brandywell boss refuses to take anything for granted in relation to this evening’s visitors, Limerick.
And he was the first to note that Stuart Taylor’s side has lost just one of their last six games.
“They defeated Shamrock Rovers before travelling to Oriel Park to win against Dundalk. They’ve also held St. Pat’s and defeated Shelbourne last week minus the services of several first team players,” said Devine.
“So those statistics tell us that Limerick are no pushovers. They are intent on finishing in the top half of the table and, in particular, ahead of Munster rivals, Cork City,” added Devine.
“So in some ways Friday night’s game is not unlike last week’s match against St. Pat’s. Limerick have absolutely nothing to lose; there’s no pressure on them at all and I’ve no doubt they will attempt to give a good account of themselves at the Brandywell.
“Hopefully, they will opt to take us on, I really hope they do, and make it a match to remember. I don’t anticipate them to sit in, putting large numbers behind the ball as has happened in the past.
“And while they scored early in their game at the Brandywell this season, I think we dominated the second half and having made a few changes we eventually netted two late goals.
“So we can’t afford to take anything for granted.
“We are certainly capable of winning the game, but we have to earn the right to win it by starting well and asking questions of the opposition as early as possible,” continued Devine.
And as was the case last weekend, Shane McEleney remains a major doubt with a virus, the centre-back having experienced breathing problems as he’s asthmatic. Ironically, Stewart Greacen returned to training this week following a knee operation, but he will not be involved, while Paddy Kavanagh also returned, but he will face a fitness test.
“We may opt to strap up Michael Duffy’s ankle given that it will be the last game, but the young lads will again be called up again and I’ve no problems in throwing them in if we need them,” maintained Devine. “Injuries have been difficult to deal with, but our youngsters have stepped in and they’ve not let us down. Michael Rafter, Patrick McEleney, Barry McNamee and Ryan Curran have all been impressive over recent weeks and I would expect that to continue against Limerick,” concluded Devine.