'No panic' at Derry City ahead of Bohemians visit says Brian Maher

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​BRIAN Maher insists there's never been cause for panic at Derry City with the Brandywell club well poised in the title race mid-May after a 'hectic schedule' and crippling injury list.

​The goalkeeper, who reached the 100 appearances milestone in the 1-1 draw with leaders Shelbourne on Monday night, hailed the togetherness and belief in the dressing room, claiming the bond amongst the players is 'as strong as it's ever been'.

The Candy Stripes were 'a kick of the ball' from being top of the table going into tonight's match against Bohemians at Brandywell as Sean Boyd's 90th minute equaliser kept Shels top.

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Ruaidhrí Higgins has been limited in his options during demanding three-game weeks, particularly in midfield and Maher believes if Derry fans were offered the chance to be three points off the league leaders in May before a ball was kicked, they would've taken it with both hands.

"Obviously there's a lot of expectation but at the same time we're not panicking," said Maher who called for some perspective after successive draws against two of the league's most stubborn defensive units.

"We're as together as a squad as we've ever been since I've been here. The outside noise isn't going to affect that but we need everyone pulling in the same direction. We've dropped points to Galway but they've taken points off all the top four. So a bit of perspective.

"We just need to make sure we stay in and around it. It's not about being top of the league in May at all. There's no point looking at the league table at this stage. It's about being top in November.

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“Two wins in a row and you're nearly flipping the league on its head. Look, we've been unbeaten in three or four games and want to keep that going.

Brian Maher, Derry City FC.  Photo: George SweeneyBrian Maher, Derry City FC.  Photo: George Sweeney
Brian Maher, Derry City FC. Photo: George Sweeney

"We want as many points as we can, especially being at home on Friday. It's a very busy schedule. It's Friday, Monday nearly four times in a row which is really taking its toll on everyone. Not just in our camp.

"Nobody is going to put a massive run together yet. We just need everyone together through the ups and downs and keep pushing.

"For a team missing as many players as we are, maybe we haven't hit top form but we've found ways to win and we’re three points off the top of the table in the middle of May. I think if you had offered people that at the start of the year they would've taken it.”

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"There's no need to be panicking. We need to stick together because we're where we want to be. We should've been top of the league the other night and I don't think anyone would've been panicking then. We were a kick of the ball off being top of the league!"

"We're not even halfway through. We're three points off the top and still waiting on a lot of our matchwinners to come back.”

There was no one as disappointed with the late concession of that goal against Shels on Monday than Maher who was keen to mark his century of appearances for the club with a third successive clean sheet.

"They didn't have a shot on target until the 90th minute. So we nearly got over the line and to concede at the last minute was very disappointing.

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"We hadn't given them much at all before that. So it was disappointing the way we gave it away as well. I think it was avoidable. At the same time we've cut the gap down to three. A few weeks ago it was up at eight or nine.

"It's a very unpredictable league. Everyone is taking points off each other and we're getting closer."