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Candystripes look sweet for Premier survival

By Eoin Wilson

A victory over in-form Limerick at Markets Field this evening will all but secure Premier Division safety for Derry City (6:30pm).

After a long and stressful season at the Brandywell, the Candystripes are just a few points away from ensuring their place in the top flight, thanks to a renaissance under Paul Hegarty in recent weeks.

Victories over Shamrock Rovers and Bray Wanderers, plus a draw at Cork City, have taken Derry to sixth. But until the threat of a relegation play-off is extinguished, Hegarty insists his main focus is extending his team's unbeaten run to four games and nothing more.

"A lot of people would have said earlier on that the points we are on now would have been good enough but it's nowhere near it," he said.

"We're in sixth and we're looking to consolidate that now and that means going to Limerick and trying to win the game."

City however must overcome a Limerick team which has been in terrific form.

Martin Russell's side looked dead and buried back in July as they trailed the pack by 10 points after picking up just six points from 21 games.

But the transformation at Markets Field has been nothing short of miraculous with the Blues picking up 20 points in the nine games since.

A Limerick victory would condense matters even further with just two games remaining, while a Derry triumph would surely reduce the number of teams in peril by one.

"I don't know what's happened down there but that's probably Championship-winning form," Hegarty conceded.

"They are a good side. They have pace all over the place and it's a big pitch down there which probably suits them.

"But at the minute we're playing quite well, confidence is high and the boys are working really hard and they are looking to push on.

"The good thing is that I think we can get better so if we do push on there's no reason why we can't get a positive result," he added.

Aaron Barry and Ryan McBride, who missed last week's game against Bray Wanderers due to suspension, are set to return.

Belfast Telegraph


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