The Candy Stripes face neighbours Institute in the annual Billy Kee Memorial Cup, on Tuesday, January 25th and Higgins says he can’t wait for the action to begin.
Prior to the ’Stute game, Derry travel to Drogheda United on Saturday, January 22nd and also face First Division Longford Town at Bishopsgate on Saturday, January 29th (KO 3pm).
“The boys have come back in very good nick and have trained well but you would expect nothing else from this group,” insisted Higgins, “The boys have worked really hard and hopefully it will stand to us over a long season.
“Joe Thomson has a slight calf issue but touch wood apart from that we seem to be in good shape. Everyone seems to have come through the first 11 days of pre-season and is anxious to get playing matches again please God it continues that way.
"We have a number of friendlies organised and because it’s a short enough off season we need to be ready to go so there will be plenty of game time for everybody to get themselves up to speed.
“We play Institute on January 25th and I would like to have some fans in so they can come and see some of the new players. With it being at home and under the lights, hopefully we can get a few through the gate and give the players that real buzz again to get back on the pitch and playing in front of our supporters.”
With season tickets sales on the up and the excitement building, the Limavady man believes supporters are buying into what the club is trying to put into place.
“It’s brilliant that people are buying into what is happening and are excited at what we are trying to do. The more people through the gate the better it is for us,” he added.
“It showed when crowds started to come back into the Brandywell last season. It was only 500 or 600 fans but we started to pick up results straight away and our performances also improved at home. I think our last home game of last season against Sligo with the noise and the colour of the fans, it basically highlighted the potential of the club.
“There wasn’t a seat to be had and the crowd was bouncing and the fans really got behind the team. They can relate to this team and the players feed of the energy of the crowd.
"That Sligo home game where Jamie (McGonigle) got the two goals and we won 2-0, that night was fantastic so hopefully we see a few more like that in the new season.”