Derry City ready for ‘tough test’ against Bohemians says Ruaidhrí Higgins

The Candystripes look to finish strong before the long awaited mid-season break

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins.
Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins

DERRY City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins jokes that the FAI may need to change the term ‘mid-season break’ as his side prepare for their 23rd league match of the season.

Higgins says it is crazy that the Foylesiders have 13 league outings remaining after tonight’s trip to Bohemians

“We’ll have 23 league games played by the mid-season break and 13 league games after the break, so we’ll maybe need to change the name of the mid-season break, but yeah it’s crazy,” he admitted.

The Limavady man comes up against his former number two Alan Reynolds and he’s expecting a tough test against a well organised side.

In their previous encounter this season at Dalymount Park, City suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to ‘the Gypsies’, while only a number of weeks ago, Michael Duffy’s late strike saw off the Dubliners at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

“We lost down there earlier in the season but we actually played well on the night and we created a lot of chances and I felt we were the better team.

“Then we beat them quite recently at home, but we know it’s going to be a tough test for us,” explained Higgins.

“They have some really good players, who we’ll be well coached and we’ll need to be ready because it’s a big game and we don’t have another one for 15 days after it.

“So because of that it’s important to try and get some points on the board.”

Last Saturday, striker Colm Whelan returned to action after a year out with a second ACL injury and while he netted in City’s U21s’ game against Finn Harps U21, Higgins won’t be rushing the 23-year-old back any time soon.

“Collie did really well in his cameo for the twenties,” stated the Derry gaffer.

“We obviously planned to only play him 35-40 minutes so we got him out. We’ll get a good couple of weeks in with him over the next few weeks and get him ready for the business end of the season.

“It was brilliant for him but I obviously don’t want to put him under any unnecessary pressure and we’ll try to do right by him.

“We’ll try to get him back in the way we see fit and the way we see it’s right for him. He obviously had a very, very difficult period in his career and his life, so he has gotten this far and it’s important that we manage him.

“I think he’ll get even more fitness under his belt over the next few weeks and we’ll hopefully have him after the break whenever the games will come thick and fast, as Europe and the FAI Cup starts.”

Also tonight, leaders Shelbourne travel to in-form Waterford; Stephen Kenny comes up against his old club, as his St Patrick’s Athletic side host champions Shamrock Rovers; Galway United will fancy their chances at home to lowly Drogheda United; and bottom side Dundalk entertain Sligo Rovers.