League Preview: Sligo Rovers -v- Derry City
Sligo Rovers boss John Russell insists his side are confident heading into tonight’s crunch home clash against Derry City (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Bit O’ Red sit in eighth place and are six points of Cork City – but have played a game more than the Leesiders.
And if they are caught by City they will have to play a relegation play-off to ensure their top-flight status for 2024.
But after defeating UCD last weekend, Russell is backing his side to shine against Derry City.
“It’s brilliant to have another home game. It was a positive night last week getting the three points,” he said.
“I thought we were fully deserving of the win last week, it was great to get two goals, it could have had a couple more and we kept a clean sheet.
“We want to build on that. It was a different type of performance from us and I was happy with it overall.
“The games against Derry have been very close. They’re a really good side of course and we’ve done well against them this year, albeit we could have got more out of the games.
“We’ll bring a game plan into Friday and we come into it with the confidence from last week.”
Mark Byrne, Gary Boylan and Will Fitzgerald remain out.
Ruaidhri Higgins has called on Derry City to be tuned in when they visit the Showgrounds tonight.
Higgins’ side lost to the Bit O’ Red earlier this season at the venue and are in a position where they must win each of their remaining six games to have a realistic chance of winning the Premier Division.
“We have to find a way of going there and picking up three points, and having lost in Sligo earlier in the season, it will be far from easy” he said.
“We’ve been playing really well over the past few months and as I said after the Rovers game, I thought we the better side again last Friday night.
“It was very frustrating to concede in the manner we did, but there’s more football to be played and we move on.
“The Showgrounds has been a difficult venue for Derry City down through the years.
“Sligo always seem to raise their game when we come to town but we have to be ready for that.
“We have to be switched on from the start-in and out of possession- and give ourselves the best possible chance to win the game.
“It’s out of our hands now but we will just focus on the things we can control and see where that takes us.”
Shane McEleney is out with a suspension while long-term absentees Colm Whelan and Ciaron Harkin are still on the treatment tables.
Referee: Robert Havey.
Sligo Rovers 0-2 Derry City
Injured: Will Fitzgerald, Mark Byrne, Gary Boylan.
Injured: Colm Whelan, Ciaron Harkin.
Suspended: Shane McEleney.