Derry City's Darren Cole back in contention for Shamrock Rovers encounter
Derry City manager Declan Devine feels that while Shamrock Rovers may not have hit top form yet, they come to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Tuesday night, still unbeaten.
The Hoops, who currently sit five points behind leaders St Patrick's Athletic, have this season twice scored late equaliser's against the Saints on the opening night and most recently on Saturday at in-form Sligo Rovers and Devine also knows that Stephen Bradley haven't tasted a league defeat since Dundalk beat them at Oriel Park in September 2019.
"Listen they are the champions for a reason, they haven't lost a league game in over a calendar year," he stated.
"I also think they enjoy playing on our pitch and that's the challenge in itself. We have got to get up and running and we talk about opposition as much as we want but we just have to concentrate on ourselves.
"We have got to perform better, we have got to make it more difficult for our opponents in terms of making better decisions. Look it has been well-documented that we have caused our own problems over the last number of games, so for us it's about performing to the levels I know that we can perform to and if we do that then I think we can be a match for anybody on our day.
"We are under no illusions it's going to be very difficult with Shamrock Rovers coming here but for me it's a game that can't come quick enough. Yes I know it's coming around really quick, but it's a game that we want, because we certainly don't want to be having the record that we have at the minute.
"We have to take whatever positives there are, the boys were back in training this morning (Sunday) and we have a day extra than Shamrock Rovers have, so we'll use every advantage that we can."
After the Rovers game an in-form Drogheda United come to the Brandywell on Friday night, so Devine knows it's a big week for his side as they go in search of their first point of the 2021 season.
"Look we can't look any further than Rovers; Drogheda had a super result yesterday, but we have to make sure that we are competitive in the game on Tuesday, that's the most important thing, we can't leave anything out there," he insisted.
"The attitude of the boys that finished the game at St Pat's and a couple of the young lads also came on in that game. Brendan Barr came on for his debut and did very well, as did Ronan Boyce, so it gives us room for thought, but we have to respect the fact that the league champions are coming here, however we also have to perform better ourselves in what we have done in the previous couple of games."
The Candy Stripes will be without the suspended Danny Lupano but on the plus side Darren Cole may feature after he returned to training on Sunday.
"Hopefully Darren will be available, but he has been out for a number of days, so hopefully he'll be back in the mix for Tuesday," he explained.
"He trained today (Sunday) and he'll train tomorrow (Monday), so hopefully he'll be OK and hopefully we can get a lift and get a few of our more experienced players back in the squad again."