Joe Thomson insists Derry City will be looking to close the gap on Drogheda United

Midfielder Joe Thomson knows how important Friday night's game at Drogheda United is for Derry City.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 6:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 6:20 pm
Derry City's Joe Thomson fired home his third goal for the club, against St Patrick's Athletic, on Monday night.

That clash at Head in the Game Park is the final match before the mid-season break and the ex-Celtic starlet would love another positive result, but knows it's going to be tough as City are playing the in-form team in the country.

Tim Clancy's men, who have scored the most goals in the Premier Division this campaign and have won their last four games in a row, will fancy their chances of another joyful result, but Thomson hopes Derry can keep their unbeaten run going.

"It's a big game, they are ahead of us but we'll be looking to close the gap when we go there," he insisted.

"They are a good side. I think we probably edged the game against them earlier on in the season but didn't get the win and we'll be looking to get the three points on Friday."

In their last four games the Drogs have scored an impressive 15 goals and have only conceded two and that form means Thomson and Co know it's going to be a tough test.

"We are under no illusions it's going to be a hard game," he said.

"They are a good side and I think they have two or three of the top goalscorers in the league as well, so they are a free-scoring, but look we'll be in Wednesday and Thursday working towards the game and we'll have a game plan for going down there."

As for the Candy Stripes they are unbeaten away from home since Ruaidhri Higgins appointment and have had impressive victories on the road at Sligo Rovers, Bohemians and Waterford and because of that Thomson feels Derry don't actually want the mid-season break.

"I think it's coming at a bad time for us, as we have had two wins and two draws in our last four games, so we want that run to continue," he explained.

"We have picked up especially from the start of the season and I think against St Pat's if that game had been at the start of the season it could have gone another way, but we are a bit more resilient now and I think we are sticking together, so it was obviously better to get a point than none."

Since Higgins has come in the Brandywell men have slowly started to turn the corner and they now look more a threat in games.

"Confidence is high in the dressing room and just to prove that we went to Tallaght and we were disappointed that we only came away with a point from Shamrock Rovers and then on Monday night we were disappointed to just draw the game, so that shows you how far we have come, especially from last season.

"We know ourselves last season wasn't good enough and I think everyone will have seen the improvement especially in recent weeks.

"In fact the way we played down in Tallaght last year and although they only beat us 2-0, I think we only had around 10 per cent possession, while a few weeks ago against them we went there, kept the ball well throughout the game, so we are definitely moving in the right direction.

"However we are under no illusions that there's still a lot of room for improvement."

In recent weeks Thomson has started to strike up a good relationship alongside Ciaron Harkin and Will Patching in midfield, but he knows that the likes of Jack Malone, Darren Cole and Brendan Barr are all just waiting in the wings and aiming to get a place in Ruaidhri Higgins' starting line-up.

"Yeah I'm enjoying playing at the minute," he added. "Whenever we played Waterford away I was a wee bit higher up and it was different, but tonight at St Pat's it was more about sitting more, but I enjoyed it.

"Obviously Jackie (Ciaron Harkin) and Will are good players, but we have Jack and Darren who also can play in midfield, so we have good competition. There's around five or six boys who could play in the midfield, so you have got to be at your best to keep your place."

Thomson admitted Monday night's score-draw against St Patrick's Athletic, felt like a defeat in the dressing room after the game, because Billy King's late equaliser meant Derry are still searching for their first home win of the season.

The 24-year-old thought he had scored the all important winner against the Saints, before King headed home the leveller, but he was pleased his long range effort found the back of the net.

"We could have nicked it and to be honest as the pitch was a bit sticky because it was a nice day, then it maybe wasn't as good as some of our away performances, in terms of passing, but it's a good point, however whenever you are winning and concede so late on it feels like a defeat sometimes," he conceded.

"It fell nicely for me and I just managed to get over it and thankfully I found the net."