Ruaidhri Higgins hopes Derry City fans make up for lost time against Bohemians

RUAIDHRI HIGGINS hopes those Derry City supporters fortunate to attend Friday's test event against Bohemians at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium can ‘make up for lost time’ as the club go in search of a first home win of the season.

Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins can't wait to welcome fans back into the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins can't wait to welcome fans back into the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

It’s the first opportunity for the Derry City boss to greet fans at the venue since taking charge last April and while just 155 of the Brandywell Faithful will be in attendance, Higgins believes they could make a real difference.

The Limavady native knows only too well how ‘special’ an atmosphere the fans can generate when the stadium is at full capacity and he’s delighted with the prospect of seeing ‘a bit of red and white in the stands’.

“It’s fantastic, even though there won’t be loads of them I’m sure they will make the noise of 1,000 people,” predicted Higgins.

“I hope they’re eager to get back and make up for lost time and make loads of noise which I’m sure they will. It will be lovely to see a bit of red and white in the stands.”

It will be a special moment for Higgins as well as those Derry City players like Cameron McJannet, Joe Thomson and James Akintunde who have yet to play in front of the home support, albeit a partial attendance.

“It will be fantastic. I spoke to a couple of the lads who signed halfway through last year and they’ve never played in front of supporters since they’ve joined the club. I think we all know it’s a special place to be when you’re winning matches and the fans are in.

“It’s a really special place to play your football so hopefully they get a wee taster on Friday night.”

Derry’s poor home record has been well documented, their last win on Foyleside coming back in October in a 2-0 victory over Shelbourne. Higgins takes charge of only his fourth home match on Friday night but while he agrees the lack of fans has had an impact on performances, he reckons his team deserved more from their previous three outings at Brandywell.

“Even when I played here, if you look at the mid-2000s, I think the crowd alone got us over the line in certain games.

“We were scoring late winners and they drive you on, particularly at the end of matches when the game is in the balance. I think that’s when the home crowd really comes into it.

“And it definitely has a part to play (on results).Having said that, we have to be better here. We have to take responsibility. I’ve only managed three home games and we’ve lost one and drawn two but I do feel we deserved more points than two from nine.

“So we go into the game positive and try to pick up three points but it’s only another game.”

Those supporters selected randomly to attend and who purchased an e-ticket for tonight’s game are asked to enter via Gate 9 which is via the Long Tower Youth Club car park. Supporters will have temperature checks done before reaching the turnstile and stewards will be on duty to ensure social distancing when necessary. Gates will open to fans no earlier than 6.30p.m.

There is no designated seating in place for this fixture but all fans will be seated in the Southend Park stand.