Kenny Shiels urges Derry to go it alone at the summit
Derry City will attempt to win five successive league games for the first time since 2013 when they travel to League of Ireland champions Dundalk tonight (7.45pm).
The Candystripes have hit back superbly from their defeat to Finn Harps on the opening day of the campaign, defeating Cork City, Bray Wanderers, Galway United and Wexford Youths to go level with Dundalk at the top of the Premier Division.
Now outright leadership is within their grasp, but only if they can upset Dundalk and end a run of nine games without success against the Oriel Park side.
That is incentive enough for manager Kenny Shiels.
"We have to formulate some motivation to go into every game and for this one against Dundalk, the motivation is that we're playing the champions and the fact that we are joint top," he said.
Shiels, however, has lamented what he feels has been an unfavourable fixture schedule.
"If you include the journey travelling home, Dundalk have had three days' more down time than us to prepare," he said. "People don't understand the advantage that carries.
"Then we've been hit with the handicap of having three games in six days next week. That's really hard to take in at this stage of the season. It's not good practice but we just have to draw on our organisational skills."
Shiels, meanwhile, has revealed that players like Jordan Allan, who has not featured in any of City's last four league encounters, must impress for the reserves before they can break back into the first team.
"If you do well in the reserves there's a good chance you will get selected," he explained. "If I have that policy it's fair on the players who have put in a good shift and done well."