Ruaidhrí Higgins enjoying Derry's home comforts but wary of Galway threat

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​DERRY City has made the best start to a league campaign at Brandywell Stadium since 2006 and Ruaidhrí Higgins is desperate to keep that run intact when they welcome Galway United to town on Friday night.

​Stephen Kenny was the man in charge 18 years ago when Derry won seven of their 14 home matches, losing on just three occasions. That year they lost out on goal difference in the title race to champions Shelbourne!

The Candy Stripes have amassed an impressive 23 points from a possible 33 on Foyleside - the best home record of any of the teams in the division thus far and just two points shy of that 2006 return!

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Galway and Shamrock Rovers are the only teams to have taken three points from the Lone Moor Road venue this term and Higgins and his troops are hoping those results were merely a blip as they attempt to exact revenge on John Caulfield's side this season.

“We want to win our home games,” said the Derry supremo who was delighted with last Monday night’s 3-0 victory over Waterford on their home patch.

"We've a much better record here this year so far, we're the best home record in the league and it's another opportunity to get three points on Friday night. As I said, if we can replicate the first half performance the other night then we'll be okay.

" In the second half performance obviously the injury to Patrick flattened the game and we've seen it out quite comfortably but we know what we're capable of and we just need to try and reproduce that.”

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This time last year Higgins was responding to weekly questions about his team’s poor home form which potentially cost them the title. The team’s away form was amongst the best in the league but the tables have turned this year.

Derry City players celebrate victory over Waterford at Brandywell.Derry City players celebrate victory over Waterford at Brandywell.
Derry City players celebrate victory over Waterford at Brandywell.

So what’s changed in terms of rectifying that home form?

“Possibly we’re being a bit more clinical and a bit more ruthless this year because we've always created opportunities and we've scored more goals,” began Higgins.

"It's a good place for us at the minute and we need to keep that going. I think we've won seven out of our 11 at home which is a decent return so we just need to try and keep it going and use it to our advantage.

“I was being asked similar questions in a reverse way this time last year where our away form was impeccable and our home form wasn't great but I have no doubt that we'll come into a really good run of form hopefully now that it's started and we can pick up points regardless of whether it's home or away.”

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Home or away Galway will provide a stern test and having deservedly taken three points on their last visit in March, Higgins knows his Derry team must dig deep if they’re to win their last remaining home match before the midseason interval.

“They're a very, very good side. A lot of the games are low scoring that they're involved in and they've been a real addition to the league. They're well set up, they're well organised and they've some good talented players as well so we know what they expect.

“You've got Ollie Horgan and John Caulfield. The work that Ollie has done at Harps I personally feel he gets nowhere near the credit that he deserves for what he's done there.

"To be honest, two shrewd men, two clever, clever men who have been around the block and know the league inside out and very, very intelligent so it's been no surprise to me that they've found a way of playing and they're sticking to it and it's worked for them,” added the Derry boss.

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“Waterford, before we beat them, they were the form team in the league so the two promoted clubs, and I think I said it after the game, I feel that that's those two clubs are the reason why the league is the way it is this year because normally with promoted teams, you'd see teams taking points off and steady but actually the two promoted clubs have been the reason why the table is the way it is.

"But hopefully we can repeat the intensity that we showed in the opening stages of the game the other night.

“You know what they're coming here to do but breaking it down is a different thing but we've players now coming into form and I love the sort of spark that we played with in the first half the other night.

"There was a freeness, there was a confidence about our play and once we play like that then we know we can cause any team in the country problems.”