Derry City know that they will have a serious task on their hands if they are to knock out the FAI Cup holders Dundalk on Friday at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Candystripes will face the Lilywhites in the EA Sports Cup final in just a couple of weeks’ time at the same venue.
Speaking ahead of the game with his club’s media team, Declan Devine admits he is relishing the upcoming tie against Vinny Perth’s side.
“We came into this job looking to be competitive in the big games and they don’t come any bigger than Dundalk at Brandywell in the cup.
“They’re a superb side; arguably the best in the history of this league, but what I really like about them is their humility. It doesn’t matter how successful they are or what trophies they win- they just get ready to go again. That’s the mark of true champions.
“That said, while we will give them the respect they deserve, we have to concentrate on getting through the tie and into the next round.
“The players have worked really hard throughout the season and we have plenty to play for heading into the last couple of months.
“We’d love to go deep in this competition and that is absolutely our aim heading into Friday night.
“In all honesty we’re really looking forward to the game. It’s eleven v eleven and although Dundalk are obviously red-hot favourites, we’ll have a huge crowd behind us.
“Hopefully it will be another memorable night at Brandywell.”
David Parkhouse is suspended while Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe is rated as doubtful ahead of the visit of the Co. Louth side to Derry.
After swatting past the challenge of Bohemians in the EA Sports Cup semi-final, Dundalk make trip north to face an in-form Derry City.
The Lilywhites stuck six past a sorry Bohemians on Monday evening, with four goals coming in the first half.
Patrick Hoban scored four as Daniel Kelly and Patrick McEleney also got in on the act for a rampant Dundalk side who are still chasing on all domestic fronts this season.
Speaking ahead of the game to dundalkfc.com, midfielder Chris Shields is expecting a tough encounter at the Brandywell.
“It’s a huge game coming up. Derry have a great prestige with the FAI Cup. It’s a real sentimental trophy to them, and with us being the holders, we want to get to a final again.
“You can’t beat walking out in the Aviva on the first weekend in November and playing in front of that crowd.
“It’s going to be a hugely difficult game on Friday, so we’ve got to knuckle down now, recover well, do our homework and go up to Derry and hopefully win.
“But we’re confident. We’ve scored eleven goals in two games and the boys in front of me make it look so easy.
“It’s really free-flowing at the moment. Our confidence is sky high, the group is really together and that will only push us on further and further throughout the year.”
Robbie Benson and Cameron Dummigan are the Lilywhites only two injury concerns heading into Friday’s clash.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Derry City reached the second round of the FAI Cup with a nervy one-goal success over Wexford at the Ryan McBride Brandywell last time out. David Parkhouse scored late on with an 84th minute winner.
Dundalk also had to see past First Division opposition in their opening round clash. Georgie Kelly’s second half winner was enough to see off Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park.
Derry City 16/5; Draw 12/4; Dundalk 8/11.
Derry City 2 - 1 Dundalk
Doubtful: Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Suspended: David Parkhouse.
Injured: Robbie Benson.
Doubtful: Cameron Dummigan.