Derry City have no more room for error says Ben Doherty
DEFENDER Ben Doherty admits Derry City can't afford anymore slip-ups as they prepare to face bottom side UCD at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday night.
The 26-year-old knows that with only five games remaining, the Candystripes will probably have to win all those matches to harbour hopes of stopping Shamrock Rovers claiming their fourth league title in a row.
"There's no more slip-ups from us and we've had enough chances to take advantage and we have to do it now or we can forget about it," says Doherty.
"We have to win our last five games or else it's probably us, but we're just worrying about Friday night first and we're not looking past that game.
"To be fair UCD gave it to us in the first half earlier in the season at the Brandywell, it wasn't an easy game and the performance was by no means nice on the eye either.
"It was a scrappy first half that night, but in the second half we showed our quality. I think we need that from the start now on Friday night, especially with the lift they got from last week's draw against Shamrock Rovers."
While Derry suffered defeat at Sligo Rovers last Friday evening, Doherty conceded that the squad go into Friday's encounter against the Students full of confidence.
"The good thing about this group is that we never get too high after wins and we don't get too low with losses or with setbacks, we came back in on Monday and got the head down, everyone was back at it and ready to go against UCD," he added.
"We know what needs to be done and if we go out on Friday and win, then we'll see what the results are like around the rest of the league."
The former Larne man knows that Ruaidhrí Higgins' side are only focusing on themselves and admits that while they've had chances to close the gap on The Hoops, they still haven't given up hope on clinching their first title in 26 years.
"We can't see into the future, we can only worry about what happens now and we know that we've had a few chances," he explained.
"We did well to get to the mid-season break hanging in there with all the players that we were missing. Then, obviously, Europe came round and we had a good run, but I just feel we haven't had the rub of the green, but look you make your luck at times as well.
"In the next five games we're going to have to pull out all the stops and just go for it and see where it take us, but there's no excuses now for our remaining five games."
While the Students were officially relegated last week, Doherty feels because of that the shackles will come off their opponents.
"Although UCD are relegated there are players in the changing room who are playing for moves and their futures," he stated.
"To be honest they're not a bad team, but from our point of view we just have to focus on ourselves and look to get back to winning ways.
"Hopefully there's a big crowd at the Brandywell and we can start fast and then take it from there."