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Candystripes are wary of hard-working Students

 

Battlers: City boss Declan Devine has respect for UCD
Battlers: City boss Declan Devine has respect for UCD

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City are hoping to reclaim fourth place from St Patrick's Athletic when they face struggling UCD at the Brandywell this evening.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's last gasp equaliser against Dundalk stretched the Candystripes' unbeaten run to six games but it also saw City drop a place in the table thanks to a St Pat's win away at Waterford.

The Dublin side are now one point clear of Derry but have played two games more, and with three home games in the next four weeks, manager Declan Devine is hoping his team can start to pick up some real momentum at the Brandywell.

Having faced Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, Bohemians and the league champions in recent weeks, City now find themselves as favourites to beat a Students side fighting for survival at the foot of the Premier Division, and Devine admits that it will be an important test for his players.

"UCD will make it as difficult for us as they did in the previous two games. Away to UCD was a very tough game but their spirit and lack of expectation will make it very, very difficult for us and it will be a test I'll be setting the players - do they have that professionalism in a game when the pressure is on us, because people will be expecting us to beat them to keep challenging the teams above us," he said.

It promises to be a big night for new City striker Conor Davis, who comes up against his former team-mates less than two weeks after moving to the Brandywell.

Davis, who was in a relegation battle with UCD, now finds himself at the other end of the Premier Division and he is hoping to play his part in firing City to European qualification.

"I think it's very realistic," he said. "There's a lot of games left and a lot of points to be won, and I'm sure there will be a few dropped along the way as well.

"All we can do is our best, and if we play on match days like we train during the week then we have every chance.

"It's very professional here and I really enjoy the set-up, training in the morning and meeting at the base before we set up," he said.

"We're doing things right here and that gives us every chance. It's just about taking what we do during the week and bringing it into the game and hopefully getting the results."

Barry McNamee and Michael McCrudden are both unavailable for Derry City for tonight's game.

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