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Derry boss Devine is furious after being hit with a suspension

Finn Harps v Derry City, Airtricity Premier League: Finn Park Tonight, 8.00pm

Declan Devine
Declan Devine

By Eoin Wilson

Kevin Deery will lead Derry City against Finn Harps tonight after manager Declan Devine was hit with a one-game touchline suspension.

The Candystripes manager discovered the news this week when the FAI Disciplinary Committee decided on the ban.

It is understood that the suspension is down to a post-match incident with referee John McLoughlin after the recent UCD game at the Brandywell.

The news has shocked Devine, who will not be in the dressing room or on the sidelines for the big derby game at Finn Park.

"Unfortunately I won't be on the sidelines and Kevin will manage the team and I'll be watching from afar," explained Devine.

"It's absolutely scandalous. In 15 years I've never had a suspension, yet I offer to shake a hand and I get suspended.

"It's going to be very difficult and I feel very aggrieved about it to be honest, that I can easily be taken away from the sidelines when, in my opinion, I haven't done a lot wrong.

"I trust the people that I work with impeccably and I have no doubt that the players will be motivated. There are no excuses, we will be prepared. I would love to be there but the most important thing is the performance and the points."

Derry are on an eight-game unbeaten run and are hoping to maintain the pressure on Bohemians in third place with a fourth win of the season over Harps.

"It's a huge game for us. Never mind the fact that it's a north west derby, the fact that there are three points up for grabs is huge for us because we have to try and maintain and grow the gap on the teams below us," Devine admitted.

"After this week we have 10 games left and every point becomes crucial. There are 33 points up for grabs and we have got to make sure that we grab as many of them as we can."

City go into the game on the back of a dominant performance in a 3-0 win over Sligo Rovers last week and Devine admits that spirits are high amongst the players.

"What was good about Sligo was that it was relentless," he said. "Our ball retention, entry into the final third and defensive shape were good. There have been glimpses of that all year but the pleasing thing was that it was relentless.

"Our appetite to attack was brilliant and we have got to do the same this week. That said, there are 11 games to go, never mind the Cup, so we have to make sure we don't ease up."

Club captain Barry McNamee is once again available for selection after missing the last two games.

• Derry have signed Scottish midfielder Grant Gillespie until the end of the season after he was released by Raith Rovers.

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