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Harkin calls on Candystripes to fire out statement

Derry City v Dundalk, Airtricity Premier League: Brandywell, Tonight, 7.45pm

Diving in: Derry City midfielder Ciaron Harkin tackles Dundalk’s Daniel Kelly in a previous clash between the sides
Diving in: Derry City midfielder Ciaron Harkin tackles Dundalk’s Daniel Kelly in a previous clash between the sides

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City are this evening hoping to end a seven-year wait for a Brandywell victory over league champions Dundalk.

The Lilywhites have won on eight of their last 10 visits to Derry's home ground, a run stretching back to October 2012, and are favourites to win yet again against the Candystripes.

Vinny Perth's side are on an imperious run of form at present, winning 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions and going eight points clear of Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Premier Division.

However, the one time they failed to win during that run was against Derry at Oriel Park, when Declan Devine's men came from 2-0 down to grab a point.

Derry themselves are on a fine run of form and are hoping to build on momentum gained by four points from difficult away games at Turners Cross and Dalymount Park in the last week.

Midfielder Ciaron Harkin believes that the draw at Dundalk two months ago, plus recent results, shows that he and his team-mates can give anyone a game.

"They don't get any easier," he acknowledged. "We have a big one now against Dundalk but we'll prepare well for that and we'll go again and we'll go into every game and look for the three points.

"We gave a good performance the last time we played them down there so we will go again now at home and hopefully we can get a performance and get a result.

"You're supposed to beat the teams in the bottom six if you are in the top six so beating the teams above you is a big thing.

"Beating the likes of Bohs, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk would send a statement out and give us all a boost so hopefully we can go on now and get three points and just go into a good run of fixtures then."

New signings Darren McCauley and Conor Davis could both be in line to make their Derry debuts tonight and with the Candystripes' attacking options now vastly improved, Harkin believes that Devine's men are more dangerous than ever.

"The more players the better," he stated.

"Those two boys are good players and it will give us a lift and a bit of confidence when good attacking players are going at boys and hopefully they come in and add a few goals to the game."

Meanwhile, Derry yesterday announced the signing of veteran defender Mark McChrystal ahead of tonight's game.

The former Bristol City defender has joined on a short-term contract.

It is the fourth time that McChrystal has signed for Derry in his career.

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