City of Derry seek Town's Cup upset as Clogher Valley visit Judges Road
With FAI Cup fever still rife, City of Derry embark on their own cup crusade this weekend but it's the toughest possible start to their Town's Cup campaign (k.o. 2.30pm).
Unbeaten Kukri Championship Division One leaders Clogher Valley, who have nine wins from nine league games, arrive at Judges Road on Saturday for a second round tie in which the home side will be very much the underdogs. Throw in some enforced changes for Head Coach Richard McCarter who will be without Simon Logue and it looks a tall order for the 'Green and Black'.
However McCarter is remaining positive ahead of a game which will kickstart a hectic run of fixtures for the locals.
"I am not really targeting anything specific in terms of the league or cup," explained the Derry Head Coach, "I’m not going to be too picky when it comes to victories but it would be nice to get a bit of a cup run going. Obviously we have a massive hurdle on Saturday but it would be nice to get a run going.
"The cup is something different to focus on. We have already played Clogher this season so we are fully aware of how difficult it’s going to be. I'm not sure how seriously Clogher will be taking this competition considering they are top of the league and still involved in the All Ireland Junior Cup, so it could be a chance for us to sneak in there if they are not completely focused."
There are grounds for optimism for Derry given they ran Clogher closer than most have managed in a 40-22 league defeat in October but McCarter knows they will have to produce a season's best display if they are to advance.
"We were very good for about 40-45 minutes up there in the league but we ran out of puff and when we tired we lost concentration and made mistakes," admitted McCarter, "Good teams capitalise on those mistakes and Clogher are a very good team.
"Although we were beaten by them that day, we know what we have to do to win but we have to maintain the positive aspects of our game for much longer periods than we managed to in that last game. We have to get our preparation right, get our attitude right and we'll give it a real go."
With their league campaign having reached the midway point, Derry had no fixture last week, something which will become a rarity heading into the festive period as McCarter's men face nine league matches as well as potential Towns' Cup fixtures before the end of February. It's a schedule that will test the Derry squad but McCarter is anxious to add a few more cup ties.
"We know that if we can hang in there and frustrate them for the first 20 minutes, try to get on the scoreboard ourselves, the longer the game goes on the more confidence will grow and perhaps they will become a bit jittery.
"If we have realistic ambitions of doing anything in this competition we have to beat the top teams and it would be nice to beat them early doors and then, if the draw was favourable to us you never know, but we won't be looking any further than Saturday."