JAMIE McDonagh insists Derry City is prepared to fight for every single point in their pursuit of European football for next season.
The 23 year-old winger netted his second goal of the season with a fine strike against Sligo Rovers on Friday night which effectively ended the Bit O’Red’s evening at the start of the second half.
And with three much needed points in the bag, McDonagh immediately turned his attentions to the tasty trip to North West rivals, Finn Harps in Ballybofey this Friday night.
It’s a first return to Finn Park since the feisty 3-2 derby win last April when Colm Deasy’s x-rated tackle on ex-Harps captain, Ciaran Coll overshadowed the match. Deasy received a deserved red card and lengthy ban for that infringement while McDonagh also received a red card as the bad blood spilled over to the tunnel after the game.
The Lisburn lad expects Friday’s encounter to be just as ‘feisty’ and he’s hoping Declan Devine and his backroom team can formulate a gameplan which will exploit Harps’ weaknesses.
Both teams come into the game after morale-boosting wins which sets it up for an intriguing encounter.
“Form usually goes out the window in derbies but it was crucial to get three points tonight,” he said. “A lot of players will take confidence from that going into next week.
“It’s going to be a feisty game, a tough game like it always is. We will fight for everything and work on them this week, on what their strengths and weaknesses are and try to exploit that next Friday night as much as we can.”
McDonagh will certainly be central to any game-plan as he has proven to be one of Derry’s most threatening attacking outlets this season, even from the right wing-back position.
However, with Eoin Toal returning, it will likely free McDonagh up to play in his preferred right wing slot.
He was delighted to find the back of the net as Derry put Sligo to the sword on Friday night and hopes there’s more to come.
“It’s usually me setting up Junior to be fair so it was about time he set me up,” he smiled. “I would like to score more goals, especially when I’m playing a bit higher like I was last week against UCD.
“I was just waiting for Junior to cut it back and everyone missed it. I was waiting at the back post and just smashed it and it went in so I was grateful for that.”
The former Sligo Rovers man came close to scoring the previous week as Derry bombarded the UCD defence and he was just pleased the team finally rediscovered their goalscoring touch as they closed the gap on Bohs.
“It was a bit of a downer last week not getting a goal and not getting three points,” he admitted.
“I had a few chances and Parky (David Parkhouse) had a few but I think it was more of a collective thing. We were getting into the right areas but just not finishing them off.
“So we are very happy to get three points tonight and we just keep going now.
“We go into the next game looking for another three points and see where it takes us.”