Home Rovers Rovers face Derry as race for Europe enters final straight

Rovers face Derry as race for Europe enters final straight


The Hoops will be hoping to make up ground in the race for Europa League qualification when they face Derry City at Tallaght Stadium tonight (KO 8pm) this evening.

Rovers, who currently lie fourth in the table and five points behind their third placed visitors, but with a game in hand, will look to bounce back from last weeks Derby defeat against a rejuvenated Derry City who appear to have got their season back on track.

The last time The Candystripes came to town the late Ryan McBride scored the only goal in a 1-0 win back in March and they go into tonights game on the back of a good run with three wins on the bounce against Bohs, Finn Harps and Limerick and no goals conceded.

If their opponents recent form has been giving gaffer Stephen Bradley any sleepless nights he certainly didn’t show it in his comments this week.

While agreeing it’s a big game, he made it clear nobody in the Hoops camp was overly stressed, insisting there was still plenty of football to be played regardless of the outcome tonight.

“We’re not getting carried away. If they beat us they’re eight points ahead. But I think people are making a lot of that.

“No matter how the result goes, it’s not the end of anyone’s season.

“There’s a lot of games to be played. As a player, we won the league on the last game of the season, so much can happen in the final run-in of games.

“It’s a big game, yes, but it always is. We know they’re a dangerous team going forward but they’re also very vulnerable at the back.

“For me it’s just another game and we go and play the game

“Obviously our intentions are to win it and I’m sure Derry will be hoping the same. There’s a long way to go. Things happen in the last run that are strange.”

Candystripes boss Kenny Shiels however was more bullish this week, saying all the pressure is on Rovers given the resources available to them.

“This is the proverbial six-pointer and the difference between winning and losing is mighty.”

“We got the players to go down to Tallaght and challenge them.

“Shamrock Rovers are one of the biggest clubs in Ireland, if not the biggest. They themselves must be thinking they should be doing better for the club of their size.

“They’ve got the players but it just hasn’t clicked for them.

“Being third for Shamrock Rovers is like being last for us, it’s way below the expectations of the fans.

“I would take a draw as it leaves us in a good position. It would be commendable for us.”

New signing Lee Grace should make his debut tonight following his move from Galway this week with Ronan Finn also available again after missing the derby.
Sam Bone is also fit and cleared to play after picking up a few stitches and a fracture under his eye in last weeks game.
The visitors will be without Nicky Low through suspension, which means youngster Rory Holden could start in midfield.