GAME ON! Ruaidhri Higgins rejects late calls for Shamrock Rovers' Brandywell clash to be postponed
DERRY CITY manager Ruaidhri Higgins has rejected a final hour request from Shamrock Rovers to postpone Friday night's top of the table clash at Brandywell, insisting the club 'weren't moving'.
The league leaders arrived back in Dublin on Wednesday morning from North Macedonia following their Europa League qualifying heroics against Shkupi which set up a play-off against Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros.
The first leg of that fixture is set for next Thursday, meaning a nine day turnaround between away European ties, a taste of what's to come for Rovers who will have another four European trips guaranteed.
Friday's league clash with Derry therefore isn't ideal for the Dubliners who hold an eight point advantage over the Candy Stripes at the top of the table.
Derry City rejected initial requests to have the game put back until Saturday or Sunday with Higgins insisting the club were simply looking after their own interests.
Stephen Bradley has been left frustrated that the FAI have rejected Rovers' request to have the game moved to allow them extra preparation time, describing the decision as 'strange'.
"We asked last week to move the game to Saturday or Sunday, we didn't want the game off," said the Rovers boss. "The league came back and said no, which I find really strange. We are not asking for the game off, but the league has said it's not possible. Which is really poor from them."
Higgins was still taking calls from the FAI on Wednesday as the Association attempted to find a solution for both clubs but the City boss was standing firm.
"We travelled back from Riga on a Friday and played Finn Harps on a Sunday evening in a North West derby," he said. "We were stuck in the airport for a couple of hours waiting for our bags. We then had to drive from Dublin to Derry and play Finn Harps two days later. There are similarities and no one moved the game for us. It's nothing against Shamrock Rovers, we have to do what's best for Derry City.
"Friday nights at the Brandywell are important to us and special. Without a doubt it's different to a Saturday or a Sunday so if it could be helped we weren't moving. I would take the position they're in."
When contacted last night, an FAI spokesperson confirmed Friday's match WILL go ahead as scheduled.