League Preview: Derry City -v- Shelbourne
- Andrew Dempsey
- Thu, Jun 01 2023
Leaders Derry City welcome Shelbourne to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday night (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Candystripes missed a big opportunity to go four points clear at the top of the table last weekend when they lost 1-0 away to Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.
But this clash against Damien Duff’s side is an opportunity for Ruaidhri Higgins’ side to respond in the right manner.
“It was a very disappointing night but we have addressed it, as you have to do, and we move on,” Higgins said.
“Shelbourne are a very well organised side and they don’t leak many goals. They also have talent at the top end of the pitch so we know we’re in for a difficult night.
“The players know what’s expected of them. We have to find a way and we need players going on to the pitch with a real desire to win the match.
“We’ve reached the halfway stage and we’re sitting at the top of the table at the minute but we have to ensure we have more performances like the previous weeks.”
Ciaron Harkin and Colm Whelan are out injured while Sadou Diallo is suspended.
European chasing Shelbourne visit the Brandywell knowing that a win would go a long way to achieving their ambitions this season.
The Reds won once on Foyleside last season but were defeated when it mattered most in FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium – losing 4-0.
But Shels have improved since then and with goalkeeper Conor Kearns in between the sticks, they possess one of the best defensive records in the top-flight.
“You know what to expect at the Brandywell,” Duff said. “It is a tough place to go, artificial surface and a big pitch, if you give Derry a chance it could mean big trouble.
“They’re a top side with top players.
“Everything should be built on a solid defensive structure. We have that.
“The coaching staff have worked tirelessly with the team and lads have really bought into this.
“Now it’s about kicking into gear and playing with a sense of freedom, keeping the football and looking after it.”
Kian Leavy and Paddy Barrett remain out for the Reds, while Sean Boyd is in line to start after returning from injury.
Referee: Rob Hennessy.
Derry City 1-2 Shelbourne
Injured: Colm Whelan, Ciaron Harkin.
Suspended: Sadou Diallo.
Injured: Kian Leavy, Paddy Barrett.