DECLAN DEVINE has dismissed suggestions Finn Harps will arrive at Brandywell tonight with a weakened squad, claiming the Co. Donegal men will be intent on ‘destroying’ Derry City’s European hopes.
The Candy Stripes need just a point from tonight’s north west derby to see them over the line in the race for the final Europa League qualification place.
And while Harps will have next Monday night’s relegation/play-off against either Cabinteely or Drogheda on their minds, Devine believes they will be motivated by the chance to spoil the party for their neighbours.
“We’re under no illusions,” stated Devine. “Finn Harps are coming here to actually destroy what we’ve worked for all year, there’s no doubt about that.
“There’s a huge rivalry between the clubs. It’s a north west derby. There are big prizes at stake for us on Friday night and big prizes at stake for them on Monday night.
“Ultimately I’d be delighted if both teams got across the line in our respective challenges. I’d be over the moon because having a north west derby is something we all look forward to. It’s a big occasion and one which breeds a real football atmosphere and all the players are looking forward to this one.
“They’re not coming here with a weakened squad,” he predicted. “They’re coming with a squad determined to stop us in our tracks.
“Thankfully it’s in our hands and we’re not relying on results elsewhere. We’re in control of our own destiny. If we don’t get across the line it will be our fault. It won’t be Finn Harps’ fault, St Pat’s fault or Dundalk’s fault. If we don’t get across the line it will solely be down to ourselves.
“But I’m very confident in the players and in their desire. Ultimately it comes down to 90 minutes after a full year’s work. We’ve been going from January 3rd and we have 90 minutes to achieve our target.”