Football/Soccer

Derry City boss Kenny Shiels: Beware a wounded Shamrock Rovers

Derry City bosss Kenny Shiels at the new-look Brandywell

Ahead of tonight's clash at the Brandywell Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has sympathy for Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley.

The Rovers gaffer is under pressure at Tallaght as they haven't won in their last five games in all competitions, in fact they have lost four of those matches and were disappointingly knocked out of the EA Sports Cup at home to First Division side Longford Town.

Despite this poor run of form Shiels believes Rovers are still a side to be respected and he feels people need to get off the 33-year-old's manager's back.

“There's trends that happen every year in football, when you lose a few and then you are in the up feeling whenever you win matches and he's going through the down bit at the minute and that's when teams are dangerous,” insisted Shiels.

“Look Shamrock Rovers have got lots of quality and you can understand the threats that they will bring and we have got to be concerned and make sure that we are at it and we are working hard to try and achieve victory, because don't forget we have a lot of players who could be missing for Friday night and that's obviously a worry.”

Those players Shiels are mentioning are Conor McDermott, Ronan Hale and Rory Patterson who all missed this week's hard fought draw at Dundalk with hamstring problems, while Gavin Peers got sent off in that match at Oriel Park and is suspended for this evening's clash.

Early in the season the Dubliners had an empathic 6-1 over the Candy Stripes and while Shiels nor his players are out for revenge, that heavy loss still plays on their minds.

“If you go looking for revenge and that's our soul purpose it doesn't happen,” he added.

“We are going to try and beat a very, very good team, obviously they rested a lot of players against Longford on Tuesday night and you are going to expect that they'll be fresh and ready to go and I'm sure that's the way they will be.

“They'll also relish this environment and this atmosphere at the Brandywell, because when we go down to Tallaght, we get a good feeling about the place and this will be quite similar for them coming to us.

“Hopefully we can turn the atmosphere into victory for ourselves, but we don't know and we want to keep our recent good form going.

“The players are doing well and if we can sustain it that is going to put us into good form for the trip to Limerick on Sunday night ahead of Monday evening's match.”

Elsewhere tonight in the Premier Division the match of night takes place at Turners' Cross as champions Cork City face fellow joint leaders Dundalk, in front of the RTE cameras.

There's a Dublin derby at Richmond Park with St Patrick's Athletic hosting Bohemians, the bottom two meet at the Carlisle Grounds with basement side Bray Wanderers facing fellow strugglers Limerick and Waterford have home advantage over Sligo Rovers.

In the First Division, leaders UCD should pick up another three points when they entertain lowly Wexford, Drogheda United will be looking for revenge when they host Shelbourne, after the Dubliners hammered them 7-2 at Tolka Park in the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday night, while Cobh Ramblers travel to Galway United.

Tomorrow night Finn Harps make the trip to Longford Town and Cabinteely take on Athlone Town at Strabrook.

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