City of Derry coach Richard McCarter expecting no final day favours as Tullamore visit Judges Road

AIL Division 2C: City of Derry v Tullamore (Saturday, Judges Road, 2.30pm)

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter is expecting no final day favours as his side face up to the probability they will be playing for their senior status in the Division 2C relegation play-off on April 23rd and 30th.

To avoid that possibility, the Judges Road men must defeat fourth placed Tullamore at home tomorrow and hope bottom of the table Clonmel get the better of third from bottom Sunday’s Well at Ardgaoithe. Given the respective form of the two clubs that scenario is a long shot but McCarter says it won’t change Derry’s approach.

“I think we have to go out and concentrate on our own game although that will be difficult because the elephant in the room is that we need Clonmel to do us a favour but I don’t expect any favours from that game if I’m honest,” admitted the Derry coach, “We just have to go out for ourselves and try to win to keep the momentum going for any potential play-off.

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter. The Judges Road men go into Saturday's final AIL game against Tullamore knowing not even victory will keep them safe from the relegation play-off if Sunday's Well defeat Clonmel. (Photo: George Sweeney)

“We are actually playing quite well at the moment so even if it doesn’t go our way on Saturday at least we would go into those two legs in good form and that would give us massive confidence.”

Saturday’s visit of Tullamore will see a return to action for Simon Logue who is expected to come in at full-back for Ross McLaughlin, the young back currently in the US but will return for the two legged play-off should Derry find themselves in it.

“The play-offs at this stage are almost inevitable and the boys have made their peace with that,” added McCarter, “We are more or less expecting to be in it and anything more than that will be a bonus. It would be worse being in a situation where we were expected to win a league on the last day and results elsewhere meant we didn’t and then you find yourself unexpectedly in a play-off. It is really, really hard to get yourself up for that type of scenario.

“This time we are expecting to be in it which means we can prepare mentally. It doesn’t change how we approach the Tullamore game. We go out to try and win that one regardless of what is happening between Clonmel and Sunday’s Well.

“The worse thing would be for results to go our way and for us not to have done our job so we will concentrate on our own game and see where things lie after that.”

Derry have found their form in the closing stages of the league, claiming points in each of the last four league games, including two victories and McCarter admits there is a sense of frustration which he hopes the players will use to finish the season strongly.

“There is frustration. We’ve never had a full squad to choose from all season through injury and unavailability. In the first half of the season we had key players out for long periods and it has been the same since Christmas, boys have been out and in.

“(Our recent form) backs up what I have been saying all year, that had we a full squad to choose from we could compete with anybody in this league. However, when you’re missing key players it puts stresses on the squad and that’s why we are lacking consistency overall. At least we are starting to hit a bit of form at a crucial time.”

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