Trip to Tallaght now make or break in Derry's European quest insists Higgins
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Shamrock Rovers v Derry City (tonight, 8pm)
DERRY City manager Ruaidhri Higgins feels that tonight's encounter at league leaders Shamrock Rovers isn't make or break for his side's chances of securing European football for next season.
The Brandywell men travel to the champions still hopeful of securing a European place for the 2022 season, as they sit just three points behind third-placed Sligo Rovers, but Higgins isn't even talking about next year and is just focusing on one game at a time, starting with this evening's clash at Tallaght Stadium.
The Limavady man knows that his team are playing the best team in the league and he uses the Dubliners as the benchmark for his players, but he's quick to point out that his side are themselves in a good run of form as they are unbeaten in their last seven league matches.
“It won't make or break our season that's for sure, but Rovers are the best team in the land," he insisted
“They are the benchmark for everybody to get to. It looks like they will be champions again and we know it's going to be an extremely difficult task, but confidence is high and we'll go there and give it a go.”
The Derry gaffer has watched his team push Rovers close twice already this campaign; a controversial equaliser denying the Candystripes a win in the 1-1 draw at Tallaght in May, before Rovers overturned a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2 at the Brandywell in July.
In both those encounters the Brandywell men were well in the game and Higgins is taking positive from those games.
“Both games against Rovers that I've been involved in, there wasn't an awful lot between the teams,” he added.
“Rovers' quality and experience in the second half at the Brandywell was there for all to see and they blew us away in a 15-20 minute period. We have improved from then and it will be a great test for our players.
“Obviously we have huge respect for Rovers and the quality they have, but we'll go there and do our best to win the game, as we do in every game. Our players are in good form as well so it should be a good game for both sets of fans.”
City will be without midfielder Joe Thomson again through suspension, but winger Marc Walsh has stepped up his training as he recoveries from a hamstring problem.