Ruaidhri Higgins: Form goes out the window for FAI Cup Final

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RUAIDHRI Higgins insists Derry City's disappointing end to the Airtricity Premier Division season will not impact their preparations for Sunday's FAI Cup Final.

The Candy Stripes go into Sunday's showpiece against Shelbourne on the back of two draws and two defeats but Higgins believes form will go out the window once the referee blows the first whistle at the Aviva this weekend.

Shelbourne's league form certainly won't strike fear into Higgins or his team as Damien Duff's team go into Sunday's fixture after a 4-0 mauling by St Pat's and a record of just one league win in their last 14!

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Those statistics mean little to Higgins who is braced for a tough afternoon in Dublin.

James Akintunde couldn't unlock the Dundalk defence.James Akintunde couldn't unlock the Dundalk defence.
James Akintunde couldn't unlock the Dundalk defence.

"They (Shels) haven't won either," he pointed out after Derry's defeat to Dundalk on Sunday. "I think form goes completely out the window when it comes to a cup final.

"St Pat's never won in four going into last season's cup final. Dundalk never won in three the year before. I'm not saying by any stretch that we accept it (losing) but none of us have been in scintillating form these last two or three weeks.

"Once the league title was out of our grasp the cup final became our priority. We would've liked to have more points but hopefully we're going in bar Diallo's suspension with as fully fit a squad as possible."

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Higgins’ team selection for the visit of Dundalk to Brandywell backs up that argument as he made FIVE changes from the team which lost to Shamrock Rovers the previous weekend. It was a gamble worth the risk.

"Patrick McEleney is going to play in his eighth cup final which is an absolutely unbelievable achievement. Mark Connolly is one yellow card away from missing the first two games of next season.

"Michael Duffy has a minor niggle we're not prepared to mess about with and we rotated a few others. So we made five changes with the start of next season in mind and obviously the cup final."