Derry City fans can roar us into Europe: Devine
DECLAN DEVINE has urged the people of Derry to come out in force for the penultimate game of the season and help roar Derry City over the line in the race for European football.
The Candy Stripes need just a single point from Tuesday night's European shootout with fifth placed, St Patrick's Athletic to qualify for next season's Europa League given their vastly superior goal difference and Devine wants fans to greet the Saints with a wall of noise at Brandywell.
City dug deep to claw out an impressive comeback victory over Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds on Saturday which has left them on the verge of bringing European football back to Foyleside for the first time since the visit of Dinamo Minsk in July 2018 - an impressive turnaround from last season's eighth place finish!
Six points from the final two home gates of the 2019 campaign could potentially secure third position for the Brandywell club and it's a target very much locked in Devine's sights as he prepares for games against St Pat's and Finn Harps over the coming week.
However, Devine isn't taking anything for granted ahead of the visit of the Saints and wants fans to continue to play their significant part and pump up the volume at the Lone Moor Road venue.
"We really need the Brandywell full to be honest," said the City supremo. "We need to crowd to come and get us across the line and help us because the support we had in Sligo was magnificent.
"If we get the Brandywell full and anywhere near where it has been recently then it would be a magnificent lift for the players.
"We want to win two games and see if we can finish third, that has to be the target. So there's six points up for grabs. "Bohemians are three ahead of us. I think we're two goals ahead of them now so we want to try and make six points up if we can.
"We know that's going to be extremely difficult but we're at home and our home form has been good. We're playing the team who is competing for Europe on Tuesday night and we need the fans."
The opportunity to finish third in the final week of the season has been the culmination of 10 months of hard graft and Devine wants everyone involved to give it one final push.
"We need everyone in Derry if they can muster up the effort and energy and money to come and support us on Tuesday night it would be brilliant.
"It could be a really great occasion but more importantly it is going to go to the last game no matter what if we want to finish third and if we want to qualify for Europe we have two games to win.
"We need the Brandywell packed if possible. I know it's a Champions League night and there's teams on the TV but this is 10 months' work and 10 months of support and 10 months of people getting behind us.
"If we can fill the stands on Tuesday night and really give the support to the players that we've been getting all year then it could be a special night."
Devine crossed the Showgrounds pitch at the final whistle on Saturday night and celebrated passionately with the large travelling support and he praised the club's appreciative support for buying into what the coaching staff set out to achieve this season.
"It's all about the fans. You see the players' response to the fans and the fans' response to the players. There's a real feel about the club at the minute and people are spending money on a Saturday to come down here and we're very grateful for that. We're very grateful for the crowds we've had in the Brandywell this year.
"We're very grateful that when we're 1-0 down after 12 minutes the fans aren't turning on us and keep encouraging us and keep singing. It's all about the fans. It's all about getting this club back to where I believe it can go.
"There will be nobody happier to see us land in Europe this year but as I say, there's still a lot of work to be done."