Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins excited by Derry City's future

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Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins has a spring in his step when quizzed about Derry City’s future and is already planning next season’s Premier Division assault.

The Brandywell men's scoreless draw at Sligo Rovers on Tuesday night meant handed Shamrock Rovers their third Premier Division title in succession, but Higgins believes his young squad will be seeking to hunt them down again in 2023.

Since HIggins’ appointment, the Candy Stripes have enjoyed a real resurgence. In fact since Will Patching's penalty at the Sligo Showgrounds which secured Higgins his first win as Derry boss in his first game in charge of the club in April 2021, they haven't looked back.

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And despite having secured European football with three games to spare as well as having a place in the FAI Cup Final to look forward to, Higgins wants to go one better next year.

Derry City defender Mark Connolly has claims for a penalty turned down during Monday night’s draw at Sligo Rovers.Derry City defender Mark Connolly has claims for a penalty turned down during Monday night’s draw at Sligo Rovers.
Derry City defender Mark Connolly has claims for a penalty turned down during Monday night’s draw at Sligo Rovers.

"I was thinking about it before the game, this (Sligo away) was my first game in charge and there has been great progression since then. The squad is in a good place," insisted Higgins.

"Yes there's room for development but as I said before, we've a really good age profile within our squad, players who are only going to get better, so I'm really excited about having a real push next year to try and go one better.

"There's a crop of good players in their early to mid-20s in the squad and there's really scope for improvement. We're excited about what this squad can develop into over the next 12 to 24 months."

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The Limavady man was disappointed that again he felt his side weren’t ruthless enough at the top end of the pitch at the Sligo Showgrounds.

"I thought, bar a 10 minute period in the first half when Brian Maher made a couple of decent saves, I think we genuinely had decent control of the game,” he added.

"It's never a place where you come down and create numerous chances, the ones that you get you have to take, but our final ball maybe lacked a bit tonight though we were pushing towards the end. The players kept going and showed a great attitude to try and win the game, but it wasn't to be.

"We've maybe been guilty of that at times this season, even in games when we've been winning. We created chances to go and really put teams away. We haven't always done it and it's something we can get better at, we know that.

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"There's a lot of scope with this squad, a lot of scope for improvement. We're only going to get better so we look forward to what the future brings.

"I'm very, very disappointed because we wanted to go to Rovers and keep it interesting. That was the plan but congratulations to (Shamrock) Rovers, they've been the most consistent team.

"People may say they've stumbled over the line while but if you actually look at the form guide they haven't. They've had a couple of draws but have won the majority of their games.

"However we know we're getting closer. In the head to heads between us, we've been very, very good and I think they know we're getting closer as well, so it's important we go down there on Sunday and show the level of performance we're capable of.”