City of Derry travel to league leaders Clogher Valley
City of Derry head into the lion's den this weekend when they attempt to shatter the perfect league record of leaders Clogher Valley.
The Fivemiletown side sit clear at the top of Kukri Ulster Qualifying League Division One with six wins from six, a run which includes victories over second and third placed Ballyclare and Cooke over the last two weekends.
It's a tall order for Richard McCarter and his troops but Derry go into the game buoyed by their own upturn in fortunes following consecutive victories over Limavady and CIYMS with the Derry Head Coach refusing to believe a shock is out of the question.
"There is definitely a bit of confidence coming back," explained McCarter, "We have scored over 45 points in consecutive games now which is no bad thing and in terms of our attack, things are certainly starting to flow again. We were pretty consistent across the 80 minutes on Saturday against CIYMS, every time we attacked with intent we looked dangerous.
"From a defensive point of view we still need to tighten up because a couple of the tires we conceded on Saturday were quite soft. That's just something we need to keep working on.
"But a few of the lads a bit bouncier and individually, the boys are definitely stepping up and looking a bit more confident. We need to thrive on that this weekend. This will be a real test as to where we are at but winning it is not beyond the realms of possibility.
"We have played big games over the past few season but we know what we have to do in terms of being clinical, exiting well from our own half and everything in between. Everything needs to go for us this weekend to win. We have to nail our line-outs, nail our set pieces and we have to kick well. It certainly isn't impossible but it will require a big, big shift from us."
Derry will be without David Browne against the Fermanagh side but his absence is offset by the return to fitness of Cein McColgan who will take Browne's place in the second row.
The Judge Road men scored six tries against CIYMS on Saturday to delight their Head Coach who now wants to see the improvement extended to his team's defensive work, especially outside the respective 22s.
"I think it is a mentality thing but not a weak mentality as such, that's not what I mean," added McCarter, "You always think when you are in the opposition '22' you have to be clinical and take your points; when you're in your own '22' you have to defend for your lives. You get away with that mindset against weaker teaks because you will keep them out, clear your lines and that will be the end of it but it is about defending between the '22s' as well.
"It's about staying connected and defending the halfway line the same way we defend our try line. I know it sounds obvious but you have to keep these top teams as far away from your line as possible so that's going to be the target for this week, to play as much in their half as possible.