Joe Thomson wants Derry City to close the gap on Drogheda United

Midfielder Joe Thomson says he fully aware just how important tonight’s game at Drogheda United is for Derry City.
Derry City's Joe Thomson in action at Waterford. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCIDerry City's Joe Thomson in action at Waterford. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI
Derry City's Joe Thomson in action at Waterford. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

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

Tim Clancy’s men have scored the most goals in the Premier Division this campaign and won their last four games but Thomson is confident Derry can keep maintain their own unbeaten run.

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“It’s a big game, they are ahead of us, but we’ll be looking to close the gap when we go there,” insisted Thomson, “They are a good side. We probably edged the game against them earlier on in the season but didn’t get the win and we’ll be looking for three points on Friday.”

In their last four games the Drogs have registered an impressive 15 goals while conceding only two, form which tells Thompson it is going to be a tough test.

“We are under no illusions it’s going to be a hard game,” he adds, “They’re a good side and have two or three of the top goalscorers in the league as well but we’ve been working towards the game and we have a game plan for going down there.”

As for the Candy Stripes, they are unbeaten away from home since Ruaidhri Higgins’ appointment with impressive victories on the road against Sligo Rovers, Bohemians and Waterford, results which leaves Thomson frustrated at the arrival of the mid-season break.

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“I think it’s coming at a bad time for us. 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 since the start of the season. Against St Pat’s, had that game had been at the start of the season it could have gone another way but we are more resilient now and we are sticking together, 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 now look a bigger threat in games.

“Confidence is high in the dressing room. We went to Tallaght and were disappointed that we only came away with a point from Shamrock Rovers and then on Monday we were disappointed to only draw the game. That shows you how far we’ve come, especially since last season.

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“We know 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 in Tallaght last year, although they only beat us 2-0, we only had around 10 per cent possession. A few weeks ago against them we went there and 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 room for improvement.”

In recent weeks the 24-year-old has struck up a good relationship alongside Ciaron Harkin and Will Patching in midfield but he knows the likes of Jack Malone, Darren Cole and Brendan Barr are all just waiting in the wings and aiming to get a place in Higgins’ starting line-up.

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

“Obviously Jackie (Ciaron Harkin) and Will are very good players but we have Jack and Darren who also can play in midfield. We have good competition. There’s around five or six boys who could play in the midfield if needed so you have got to be at your best to keep your place in the team.”