Derry City will look to regain focus on their European ambitions with a win over Cork City at the Brandywell this evening (kick-off 7.45).
With last week’s loss to Shamrock Rovers followed up in Monday’s 2-2 draw away to Waterford, only three points separate fourth from fifth in the battle to secure European football for 2020.
“We’re a work in progress,” Derry manager Declan Devine told the club’s media team.
“As we’ve said all along, we’re a new team and a young team and we need to learn from games like those.
“Obviously we were worth more than we got but the games keep coming so there’s not much time for feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Derry City tonight will give the hosts the opportunity to grab their first league win over Cork City in four seasons at home.
It is a run of games between the sides littered with classic encounters, and one which Declan Devine was sure to note.
“Cork City are here on Friday night and our league history is littered with great games against them,” he greeted the historic rivalry between the far away sides.
“They’re a far better side than what their results this year would suggest and it goes without saying that we will treat them with full respect in our preparations.”
In squad news, Ally Gilchrist is a doubt going into the tie.
After Monday’s 0-0 draw against Sligo Rovers, the Rebel Army make the long journey north when they face Derry City at the Brandywell.
Cork travel to Derry with only two points from their last seven games and without a win since mid March, when they overcame Bohemians.
It is manager John Caulfield’s worst run in charge, as his side rests fourth from bottom and only separated on goal difference from Sligo Rovers below them.
This was not something on the mind of the Cork team in the journey. Caulfield showed admiration for the ongoing project by Declan Devine at Derry City, one similar to his plans when taking over at Cork City.
“The core and strength of Derry, historically, was in their local players. They had a hardcore of locals in their team with some outside players brought in. In the last few years they had gone away from that”
“Declan Devine was appointed along with Paddy McCourt and Kevin Deery and they’ve come back saying that they wanted to bring back the “Derryness” into the club.
“They went back out there and started signing the Derry lads that had moved away. Obviously, they have pride in their club and their city and their results this year have been fantastic.”
Caulfield will be boosted for the trip with the return of midfielder Daire O’Connor and full fitness for Karl Sheppard, but will be without Alan Bennett and Cian Murphy.
Referee: Rob Harvey.
This will be the 49th meeting between the sides to date, with the most recent being last March’s 0-0 draw at Turner’s Cross.
Cork City have the better all round record against the Candystripes with 23 wins against Derry’s 10, while both sides have drawn 16 times.
Derry’s last league win over Cork City at the Brandywell was in March 2016, when Ronan Curtis found the net in a 1-0 victory for the hosts.
Derry City 11/10; Draw 23/10; Cork City 12/5.
Derry City 1 – 0 Cork City.
Doubtful: Ally Gilchrist
Injured: Alan Bennett, Cian Murphy.