Ruaidhrí Higgins hoping Derry City capitalise on home run as out of form Sligo Rovers visit

Derry City's top scorer Pat Hoban returns from suspension for the visit of Sligo.Derry City's top scorer Pat Hoban returns from suspension for the visit of Sligo.
Derry City's top scorer Pat Hoban returns from suspension for the visit of Sligo.
​RUAIDHRÍ Higgins is hoping Derry City can capitalise on home advantage and Sligo Rovers' poor run of form when the teams lock horns in Friday night’s North West derby at Brandywell.

​The Bit O'Red arrive on Foyleside without ace striker Max Mata who has returned to his English League One parent club Shrewsbury Town following the expiry of his short term loan deal with the team already struggling to find the back of the net.

The visitors are the third lowest scoring team in the league and have netted just three goals in their last nine fixtures in comparison to Derry who are ranked second highest scorers!

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John Russell's troops come into the match having registered just one win in those run of NINE league matches - a sequence of results Higgins' is hoping his team can capitalise on as they seek to return to winning ways after Monday's disappointing loss to Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.

With leading goalscorer Pat Hoban back from suspension, Derry go into the match with real strength in numbers and the City boss expects to see a reaction in front of the home support.

“We need to try and capitalise on it [Sligo's poor form and home advantage]," said Higgins. "Our home form has been much better this year and we need to try and maximise it and get the crowd right behind us and give them something to get behind and try and get a big home win.

"You've seen throughout the league campaign this year that there are results that throw up surprises to a certain extent. Nothing surprises us in this league anymore really. We need to be really well prepared and try to get a big, big home win.”

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Despite their recent difficulties which has seen Sligo fall to eighth in the table, Higgins won't be getting complacent.

“I don't think there's many favourable fixtures in this league. I think we've seen that throughout the campaign so far. It's been quite strange. After our last defeat we did show the ability to bounce back and show resilience. We'll be looking for more of the same.

“Sligo are a dangerous opponent. I know their form hasn't been exceptional. But every time we play them they're really tough games.

"There's some real attacking talent in their team. We need to be well set up. We need to be ready for the challenge and we need to try and get back on the horse as quickly as possible and Friday gives us an opportunity to do that after Monday's defeat.”

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Bizarrely, Derry have played Shamrock Rovers three times already at the halfway stage but tonight's meeting with Sligo is only the second of the season so far. A drab stalemate in the Showgrounds last February seems like a long time ago and Higgins reckons both teams have changed considerably since then.

His concern is Derry City and after a poor showing against Rovers on Monday, Higgins is hoping for a positive response.

"We just have to try and break down our opponents and their strengths and capitalise on their weaknesses. As long as we look after ourselves and do our own jobs properly then we'll be okay.

“We had a good run there with four wins and two draws, and we need to get back to trying to get more of them types of runs of form.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Mark Connolly returned to training this week but the game could come too soon for the defender.