Derry City boss Higgins happy with with healthy team news

Candystripes almost at full strength for trip to Inchicore to face St Pat’s

Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins with Sadou Diallo back from injury and waiting to go on against Shelbourne at the Brandywell on Monday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin  6-5-2024
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins has seen midfielders Sadou Diallo (pictured), Patrick McEleney and Michael Duffy return from injury in recent weeks (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

SSE Airtricity Premier Division: St Pat’s Athletic v Derry City (Friday, 7.45pm)

For the first time in a long time Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins may have virtually a full strength squad to choose from for tonight’s encounter at St Patrick’s Athletic.

Midfield trio Patrick McEleney, Sadou Diallo and Michael Duffy all played a major part in last week’s late win over Bohemians. Higgins admits that Cameron Dummigan is close to making a return.

Centre-back Mark Connolly, who was substituted at half-time last Friday evening, has a slight groin problem but should be available for tonight’s clash against the Saints.  

“The team news is looking a bit healthier, which is great,” insisted the Derry gaffer.

“We’ll have good numbers available for Friday night and that’s what you want.  

“Obviously, Patrick came back into it, Michael came back into it, Diallo has also come back into it. Dummigan’s getting closer, so we’ll see how he’s looking for Friday night. So really, we’re not too far away at all.

“Mark’s got a wee bit of a groin problem, so again, we’ll see. So, listen, hopefully he’s OK, but if he’s not right, we won’t take any chances because we’ve got real quality in that position.”  

Picture Margaret McLaughlin  10-5-2024
Michael Duffy scored the winner in Derry City's clash with Bohemians last Friday (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

With champions Shamrock Rovers and leaders Shelbourne both dropping points, the Foylesiders have moved to within a point of Damien Duff’s table toppers, but Higgins isn’t really bothered about other teams.

“I’ve seen a real focus from the group this week about what we want to do, regardless of anything else,” he explained.  

“We want to go there and try and imprint our style on the game and get a big three points. We really liked how we finished the game against Bohemians and we want more of the same.”  

“Again, I’m sort of sick of saying the same things, but other people’s results are irrelevant until you get to five, six games to go. If you’re still in the mix then you can start looking at them, but we just want to find a level of consistency,” he added.  

“We’ve won three and drew two of our last five, which is decent considering the league that we’re in at this minute in time.

“We just want to keep that momentum going and try and pick up a big three points on a good pitch at a good venue.”  

Meanwhile also in action in the Premier Division tonight, Dundalk - who after just a few weeks are again looking for another manager as Noel King stood down on Wednesday because of medical reasons - face Stephen Bradley’s Hoops, at Oriel Park.

Shels have home advantage over Waterford; Alan Reynolds’ Bohs travel to Sligo Rovers and Galway United visit Drogheda United.

In the First Division, leaders Cork City make the trip to Bray Wanderers; Treaty United face Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park, Wexford host Kerry and tomorrow night Longford Town have home advantage over Athlone Town.

Fixtures (7.45pm unless stated)
SSE Airtricity Premier Division

Drogheda Utd v Galway Utd

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

Shelbourne v Waterford

Sligo Rovers v Bohemians

St Patricks Athletic v Derry City

First Division

Bray v Cork City

Cobh Ramblers v Treaty Utd

UCD v Finn Harps

Wexford v Kerry FC