Derry City boss Kenny Shiels wants his side to control their emotions

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels wants his players to control their emotions as they go back into action for the first time since Ryan McBride's death
Seamus Crudden and Chris Ashmore

Airtricity League Premier Division: Derry City v Bray (Friday, 7.45pm)

DERRY City manager Kenny Shiels feels a victory over Bray Wanderers would be a fitting tribute for his former skipper Ryan McBride, who tragically died last week.

If City manage to make it five wins on the bounce, it would be their best start to any season since 1991.

“The players have performed tremendously well this season and that’s the focal point of what tonight is about, because if we digress from that and move too much emotion towards Ryan, then Ryan will not be happy with us,” he said.

“We must devote our emotion to winning the game, nothing else will be relevant; if we start moving our emotions to another field then we will not be successful.”

Prior to kick-off this evening there will be a number of tributes for the club’s former captain and Shiels wants his squad, which returned to training this week after McBride’s sudden death, to keep their emotions in check.

“If we go high negative with our emotions, then we have commitment and anger and we cannot be high negative, we have to be in high positive, where we have got commitment and we have got drive and that’s where we need the players to be,” he added.

“Because we are transferring football emotions from life emotions; so the emotions are important to how we can give of our best.

“I’m never going to ask the players to switch off from their emotional feelings towards our former captain; but if they aren’t directing their emotions properly to getting the best out of themselves, then they won’t be in the team.

“We have got to have people who are mentally strong and can provide the right emotions to win a game of football.”

The Candystripes boss knows that Wanderers will travel to Maginn Park looking to bounce back from last weekend’s home loss to Limerick.

“Bray have got pace in their side and their front four are very good,” stated Shiels.

“They have made a huge commitment to challenge for Europe, you could see a lot of clubs have done that, because of the financial rewards.

“Shamrock Rovers, Limerick, Bray – and then you have the big boys Cork and Dundalk – and Bray are one of those teams who are very committed to challenging for a European spot and you could see that in how they started the season.

“In fact, Bray have the motivation, if they beat us then they are up into second, so we must prepare accordingly.”


Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps (Friday, 8pm)

FINN Harps go into Friday's Premier Division clash against Shamrock Rovers knowing that the Dublin club will view this fixture as a “must win” game.

Rovers have won just twice and lost four times in their first six games and are already 12 points adrift of pace-setters Cork City.

Having invested heavily in the team, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley is already under some early season pressure to turn things around.

He has called on the trophy-hungry Hoops fans to be patient as be builds a new-look team, but the worry is that they don’t want to be playing catch-up already. Only a win over Harps will quell the uneasiness in the Tallaght stands.

In many respects, it’s a good time for Harps to be taking on the Dublin club. The pressure is very much on the home team, and the Donegal club will travel with a degree of quiet belief that they may collect something from this game.

Harps go into the match on the back of a four-game unbeaten run and lie in a lofty sixth spot, two points above their opponents.

Rovers have lost two out of their three home games, but they were desperately unlucky to lose 2-1 against Cork City.

Harps manager Ollie Horgan is hopeful of a good result, but also fearful that sooner or later there will be a Rovers backlash.

He said: “The Shamrock Rovers players will be under huge pressure to get a win against us. Even though they are behind us in the table at the moment they will still see Finn Harps as a very big chance for three points.”

Damian McNulty, who limped off during the Slligo Rovers game last Saturday night, is definitely out for Harps with a hamstring injury. Horgan also rates Paddy McCourt (ankle) and Barry Molloy (calf) as very doubtful.

Meanwhile, Harps’ EA Sports League Cup first round game against Cockhill Celtic will now take place this coming Monday (April 3) at Finn Park (8pm).

Elsewhere on Friday, champions Dundalk, who like City sit six points behind Cork City, face Drogheda United in front of the RTE cameras as they aim to bounce back from last weekend’s loss at Turners Cross.

Leaders Cork have a Munster derby at the Markets Field as John Caulfield’s side travel to Limerick.

In-form Bohemians have home advantage over Dublin rivals St Patrick’s Athletic, who got their first win of the season against Shamrock Rovers last Saturday.

In the First Division tonight, Athlone Town take on Cabinteely, while Wexford visit Tolka Park to take on Shelbourne.

Tomorrow evening leaders Waterford travel to title chasing Longford Town and joint leaders UCD make the trip to St Colman’s Park to face Cobh Ramblers.

TONIGHT (7.45pm unless stated)

Dundalk v Drogheda (7.30pm); Galway Utd v Sligo; Bohemian v St Pat’s; Limerick FC v Cork City; Derry v Bray; Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps (8pm)

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