PATRICK McClean reckons the rest of the league will start to take notice of Derry City after their impressive victory over St Patrick's Athletic on Monday night.
The defender reclaimed his spot in the team at Richmond Park following five weeks on the sidelines and marked his return with an excellent strike - his second City goal.
The Creggan man believes the manner of the win, which was Derry's fifth on the bounce, will have sent out a real statement of intent as the Candy Stripes bid to sustain a challenge at the top of the table.
"Hopefully that sends out a statement that we're not just here to make up the numbers," said McClean. "At the start of the season I think a lot of people would've been writing us off given we had a whole new squad.
"We're here to challenge and hopefully that sends out a statement now."
McClean, whose only other goal for his hometown club came three years ago when his long range wonder strike found the top corner of the Longford net at the City Calling Stadium, believes there's more to come from Declan Devine's charges.
"When we were in the huddle, we were saying to each other 'let's show each other how good we are and how good we can play'.
"I don't actually think we were at our best yet but tonight we showed what we could do and kept the ball really well. "I've been out for the last five weeks with an injury so to come back tonight and get a goal to help the team get a win was great.
"We had to freshen it up. There's a lot of games coming up so we showed boys can come in and do a job.
"The standard in training is really, really good. If the boy in front of me is playing really well then I can't complain. I'm a team player. All I want is for the team to win."
Describing his long range strike, which found the bottom corner of the Pat's net after just two minutes of Monday's clash, McClean said he just knew it was going in once he hit it so sweetly.
"It was the last thing on my mind to shoot but once I took a great touch I thought 'this is going in' and thankfully it did.
"It's just great to get a goal I don't really score many but it's great to help the team.
"Playing against 10 men isn't easy," he added. "They came out and came at us. The boys dug in and fought well and came away with the three points."
Up next is the visit of the league leaders, Shamrock Rovers to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium and McClean is relishing the challenge.
"We went down to Tallaght earlier in the season and had a poor night. You're going to have those nights but we'll be ready for this one."