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Derry City are bidding to halt Rovers' unbeaten run

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City have the unenviable task of attempting to inflict a first defeat of the season on Shamrock Rovers this evening.

Pat Fenlon's team trail league leaders Dundalk by seven points as the season nears its half way stage, but they remain the only team in the Premier Division yet to suffer defeat, with their 5-1 demolition of Sligo Rovers on Friday indicative of the confidence in the Dubliners.

In contrast, the Candystripes are struggling for any sort of form this season, having already suffered seven league defeats. Peter Hutton's team are also the lowest goal scorers in the Premier Division, having found the net just once in the past five games.

These are tough times at the Brandywell, and with no money available to spend, manager Peter Hutton has admitted that he will have to 'become creative' in an attempt to bring new faces to the club during next month's transfer window. Midfielder Sean Houston became the first player to leave the club at the weekend, with others expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Derry are set to play their second game in four days, after tonight's game at Tallaght was brought forward due to Rovers' involvement in Europe.

"It's a game we could have done without," Hutton admitted.

"We didn't want it played but the decision was made by the FAI because they wanted to free up the week for Rovers playing in Europe.

"When you're down on many bodies with injuries and suspensions, the last thing you want is three games in a week. Even at full strength Rovers is a tough game. They are up there on merit and they have a vastly experienced squad.

"They came here recently and put out a different 11 and no doubt it will be a difficult task in Tallaght, but we just have to dust ourselves down and get on with it. They need to learn from their errors and as a group we need to stick together."

Mark Timlin remains suspended for Derry City, but Ryan McBride could yet make a return this evening, after recovering from a hamstring strain. Derry's inability to score is putting extra responsibility on the defenders, and Hutton admitted that trend must stop.

"It does put more pressure on the defence," he agreed. "If you're not conceding you're still going to get something from the game if you defend well so we have to tighten up. Defensively we have done quite well this year but we have to start scoring at the other end to take the pressure off the back four or five. You can't just rely on our defenders to win you games, so we need to be doing more in the final third."

Belfast Telegraph


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