Derry City must learn lessons
Derry City will attempt to halt Pat Fenlon's high-flying Shamrock Rovers this evening at the Brandywell.
While the new season has been hit and miss so far for the Candystripes, with just two wins in six league games, the Dubliners have started ominously, winning four from six and conceding just one goal in the process.
It therefore promises to be a difficult game for Peter Hutton and his players, but the City boss feels his team can spring a surprise.
"Because we've played the likes of Dundalk, Cork and St Pat's, who many perceive as being title contenders, we will know what to expect," he said.
"The intensity will be high and it will be a tough game, but we just have to focus on our own strengths and win our personal battles. We have to learn from last Friday night when we had too many players who didn't perform on the night. The margins are very fine in this league so you have to perform with consistency."
Derry go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting League Cup win in Sligo on Monday past, but even so, Hutton knows his players will have to pull out all the stops to get a result.
"They're going really well and they're not conceding much," Hutton continued.
"They are a vastly experienced side which certainly helps when you're pushing for the title."
Hutton has told Patrick McEleney to accept the fact that he is now a marked man.
The midfielder, without a goal since last September, has had a frustrating time in recent games, playing in a position just off lone striker Anthony Elding.
McEleney has been undoubtedly Derry's star man this season, and opponents are now beginning to pay extra attention as a result.
"Patrick is very much a marked man now," Hutton said.
"As we have seen in Cork and St Pat's, as soon as he gets the ball, there's a number of bodies around him, which is very frustrating for him.
"But he can't afford to let that affect his game."