WHEN Derry manager Brian McIver lavished praise on his side following their stunning Allianz League semi-final win over Mayo last Sunday, he surely hoped that he might be in a position to rubber-stamp the same line-up for the decider against Dublin on Sunday week.
While he does have cause for relief that Fergal Doherty will be available to him, even though he incurred a red card in the first half of the semi-final, McIver faces an anxious wait before he learns the full extent of an injury picked up by dynamic wing-back Sean Leo McGoldrick in a club game on Wednesday night.
It is believed that McGoldrick is to undergo a scan and there are fears that he could miss the league final.
Derry PRO Dermot McPeake reveals: "Fergal Doherty actually received two yellow cards before getting his red against Mayo so he will be available for the Dublin game, but we have concerns over Sean Leo who has been a key player in the side.
"We are awaiting medical opinion on his injury and then we will take things from there."
McIver's preparations for the decider are in full swing and one of his major tasks will be allocating man-marking roles in a bid to dilute the potency of Dublin's much-vaunted attack.
In overcoming Cork in their semi-final, Dublin knocked up a points tally of 2-20, with 2-13 of this coming in an astonishing second-half performance that blew the Leesiders off their feet.
"We have noted what the Dublin attack can do and we have to be ready for the challenge that they will pose," observes McIver tersely.
Centre-half-back Gerard O'Kane looks certain to be asked to police the very much in-form and dangerous Diarmuid Connolly and if Bernard Brogan, who made a big impact when he was introduced from the bench against Cork, should start against the Oak Leaf side then Dermot McBride could be tasked with containing the threat that he would undoubtedly pose.
Full-back Chrissy McKaigue, who was outstanding against Mayo when he marshalled the defence superbly, will be handed the onerous job of trying to keep the rampaging Eoghan O'Gara in check.
"Dublin showed against Cork that they have considerable power on their bench and obviously their confidence will be fuelled by that win," points out McIver.
"They will have a big crowd behind them, but our self-belief has been heightened and we are certainly looking forward to the match.
"I have no doubt that our own fans will get behind us and that will be a big bonus."