Ruaidhri Higgins warns against complacency as Derry City face Faroe Islands minnows HB Torshavn in Europa Conference League

​RUAIDHRI Higgins has warned that any hint of complacency against Faroe Islands minnows Havnar Bóltfelag (HB) Torshavn on Thursday night will lead to another early exit from European competition for Derry City.
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​Higgins has learned harsh lessons from his first taste of European experience as manager last year when the Candy Stripes suffered a 4-0 aggregate humbling against a quality FC Riga.

It's a vastly different level of opposition as they prepare to face a team made up of part-time carpenters, car salesmen and students in the sleepy Faroese capital of Torshavn this week in the first round Europa Conference League qualifier.

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The Derry boss, however, isn't taking anything for granted and pointed to the bookies who have installed HB Torshavn as favourites to win the first leg.

Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins and first team coach Conor Loughery pictured during last season's Europa Conference League first round qualifier against Riga in Latvia.Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins and first team coach Conor Loughery pictured during last season's Europa Conference League first round qualifier against Riga in Latvia.
Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins and first team coach Conor Loughery pictured during last season's Europa Conference League first round qualifier against Riga in Latvia.

They are the seeded team in the first round draw, sit 83 places above Derry in UEFA's coefficient rankings and haven't lost at home in their previous three European ties on home soil.

Higgins was also quick to point out Derry's less than impressive recent record on the continent, insisting it would be 'dangerous' to overlook their Faroese opposition.

"We haven't gone through a round in Europe in nine years so we're not in any sort of position to put ourselves on a pedestal that's for sure," said the Derry manager.

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"We have a lot of work to do but it's a really exciting time of the year for coaches, staff, players, supporters and directors. It's something to really look forward to.

"However, I find it dangerous to look too far beyond this game," he warned. "People look at a club from the Faroes but those days are gone.

"These teams know how to play, they know how to set up. They'll have done their homework on us, absolutely.

"Honestly I just want to win on Thursday and I'll want to win the following Thursday. If we achieve that then we'll look to the next round. It's a boring answer, sorry but it's extremely dangerous to look too far ahead."

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Higgins got a first hand experience of the opposition when attending their 2-0 defeat to league leaders KÍ Klaksvík two weeks ago and he saw enough to know his team can ill afford to take them lightly.

"If you're going by the bookies then they're favourites for this game. People say the bookies never get it wrong. "

Last year Riga were an absolutely brilliant team and we knew that. We're coming up against a side with a few international players and players who will want to do well in their own career.

"You can learn from last year but it's a completely different challenge. It's two different clubs, two different styles. Riga were probably a really experienced team whereas Torshavn probably don't have the same experience.

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"We'll go there and play the way we always try to stamp our authority on the game and try to come back here with a lead - that's what we want to achieve.

"When you get to this stage of competition every single game you play in is difficult. This will be no different.

"They have a few internationals, some really good players but if we're set up properly and do our business right then there's no reason why we can't go and get a victory if we apply ourselves properly and approach the game in the manner I know we can.”

Finnish oufit Kups Kuopio await the winners in the second round but Higgins batted away questions about the club's ambition to go deep into the competition.

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"Our ambitions are to go out there on Thursday and try and win and we'll deal with whatever else comes after that."

Tactically and technically they're well coached and well drilled. Their centre forward scores goals. It's really hard to put a level on it until you've actually played them.

"I went out there last weekend and watched them and I know they lost 2-0 to the league leaders, there wasn't a lot in the game.

“I’m sure it will be an even enough contest with us hopefully edging it.”

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The Faroes enjoyed a rare spell of sunny weather last weekend with temperatures as high as 24 degrees recorded in some parts but there’s always the potential for windy, changeable weather conditions on the Islands.

The weather won’t be an issue for Derry says Higgins.

"I think it's very similar to here I don't think it gets too warm. It can be windy but we live in Ireland,” he smiled.

"We haven't been brought up in a tropical environment so we're well used to wind and rain so we'll be ready.

"We have enough experience in our team, enough know-how to adapt to different conditions.”

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The Derry team fly off on a chartered flight from City of Derry airport on Wednesday morning.

You can follow all the action from Torshavn online as ‘Journal’ reporter Simon Collins will have reports, videos and reaction from the first leg qualifier at

Thanks to Just Vape Omagh and Strabane for sponsoring the ‘Journal’s trip to the Faroes.