Victory at Oriel Park could be catalyst to spark Derry City's bid for league glory
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Last Friday's pulsating 2-2 draw against one of potentially four title rivals, Bohemians at Dalymount Park can be considered a positive result given the psychological impact of crashing out of Europe and the FAI Cup after two heartbreaking penalty shootouts in the space of three days.
However, Higgins knows his team must dig out a monumental victory at Oriel Park on what he believes is a 'pivotal night' in the race for the title.
"That's the plan, we want to get a big win and then make it a catalyst to drive on for the rest of the season.
"It's a tough place to go to and last season we were going deep into injury time in front, so yeah it's a tough place to go but when you do win it's an amazing feeling so we would like to have that feeling in our dressing room at full-time on Friday night and that's what we'll be looking to achieve," said the City boss.
"Winning would send a message," he agreed. "However, I still believe, and I could be wrong, but I think this is going to go deep into the season and we just need to try and win the game on Friday and focus on the rest of the season."
The former Dundalk assistant boss reckons the Lilywhites remain in the hunt despite lying in sixth place, 11 points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers with eight games remaining given the talent within their ranks.
With the top six teams in the division going head-to-head this weekend, it's an opportunity to make ground on their rivals and the importance of taking six points from their next two fixtures against Dundalk and then UCD in that rescheduled clash at Belfield next Wednesday, isn't lost on the City supremo.
It’s a potentially season-defining game for Dundalk if they have eyes on the title race and European football but Higgins is more concerned about his own team’s ambitions.
"Probably going to give you the answer you were expecting, but I'm not really concerned about what they think. I'm concerned about us staying in the moment, keep playing the way we're playing and I'm sure we'll get a wee rub of the green sometime soon.
"What I would say is that no one has felt sorry for themselves here, you can see it in the performances.
"It's an important game for us. We still have our game in hand to play at UCD next Wednesday night so we have to try and accumulate a good points total from the two games.
"I feel Dundalk are title challengers and if you go through their team, they've got real talented footballers. If you go through their team they have really talented footballers. You only have to look at their front three -(Daryl) Horgan, (Daniel) Kelly, (Patrick) Hoban or John Martin and if you look at the winners' medals alone from those three it is frightening.
"Connor Malley is an outstanding footballer in midfield, Greg Sloggett, (Johannes) Yli-Kokko, the lad they've got from Finland and they've Archie Davies and a lot of people would have the opinion that he's been one of the outstanding full-backs in the league this year.
"So they've a lot of real talent and I think they're a smashing team and they've improved as the season has gone on.
"It could be a pivotal night in the league, time will tell on that, but as I said many times it has been such a strange league this season, that if you can string four or five wins together, which not many have been able to do, then you never know where you could end up.
"However we're just focusing on the next game and try to go to Oriel Park and win."
Derry are unbeaten in their last four league matches and have suffered just a single defeat in their last seven league fixtures - that 1-0 loss to Rovers at Tallaght back in June.
The Candy Stripes' form in all competitions during the past eight weeks has given Higgins plenty of reason for optimism as they head into the final nine matches of the season where he believes his team can 'pick up a lot of points'.
"If you look at last week, we had the European game, the FAI Cup game and then Dalymount Park, it was three extremely tough fixtures for different reasons and we had three excellent performances in my view.
"They were three top level performances for a lot of it and we deserved more, but that's football, that's life you don't always get what you deserve and it's how you come again.
"I think what we've done over the last couple of months is showing the capacity to be tough and resilient but we're also playing some really good stuff as well, which is great and if we can continue that type of form between now and the end of the season we'll pick up a lot of points."