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Candystripes will show they belong at top, insists manager Declan Devine

Derry City v Shamrock Rovers, Airtricity Premier League; Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, Tonight, 7.45pm

Declan Devine
Declan Devine

By Eoin Wilson

It is first against second at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight as Derry City aim to move within touching distance of Shamrock Rovers.

Declan Devine's team go into the game on the back of five successive wins in all competitions, hopeful of inflicting a first defeat of the season on the Dubliners.

The game will be televised live on RTE and Devine said: "You want to win every game, especially at the Brandywell, but we are under no illusions over how difficult it is.

"Rovers have been sensational under Stephen Bradley this year. They have scored a lot of goals, kept a lot of clean sheets, they have a lot of good players, but so do we and we look forward to the game. It's a game where we now say 'Let's see where we are. Can we eat at the top table or are we still a wee bit off it?'

"We'll do our homework on Rovers and get ready for the game, but it's brilliant that they are coming to the Brandywell on Good Friday; the TV cameras are there, so let's see."

With Dundalk and Cork City, the dominant teams in the League of Ireland in the past five years, still off the pace, Rovers and Derry have been the ones to watch so far, with the recent 3-1 victory at St Patrick's Athletic a real statement of intent from the Candystripes.

"I keep telling them but they don't know how good they are," Devine continued. "They have to believe in themselves and believe in their team-mates and if they do that and continue to do the ugly stuff quite well, if they continue to improve and work the way they are on a daily basis then it could be a good year.

"We have been here before. There's nothing handed out in the first 10 games of the season. We're very understanding of that. We're only emerging and we're only getting to know each other and how everyone works."

Derry City will be without the suspended Jamie McDonagh, but captain Barry McNamee and defenders Eoin Toal and Ciaran Coll could all return after being rested for the game at Inchicore last Monday.

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