Belfast Telegraph

City will have to fight for derby glory: McDonagh

Hungry: Jamie McDonagh would relish a start at Harps tonight
Hungry: Jamie McDonagh would relish a start at Harps tonight

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City will aim to make it three wins in eight days when they meet Finn Harps at Ballybofey this evening.

Declan Devine's side have returned to winning ways in the past seven days, beating Sligo Rovers to go fourth in the Premier Division before progressing to the quarter-finals of the EA Sports League Cup with a win over First Division Longford Town.

That form is in stark contrast to that of tonight's opponents, with Harps rooted to the bottom of the table with no wins in nine games so far. Harps did manage to get their first win of the season when they defeated Sligo in extra time in the League Cup in midweek but go into tonight's game as underdogs against their north west rivals.

Despite the favourites' tag, City's Jamie McDonagh is expecting a typical derby contest.

"When it comes to playing Derry they're going to be psyched up for it more than any other game," he said.

"It's going to be a very tough and physical game. We'll be raring to go. We just have to play our own game and match them physically, pass the ball well, match them all over the pitch and hopefully get the three points."

McDonagh has sat out the last four league games due to his red card against Shamrock Rovers but played a starring role against Longford in what was his first start of the season.

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"It was great to get back out there and get 90 minutes in the legs," he explained.

"It's hard to keep up with the fitness of all the other lads because they have played every week but I tried to keep myself fit. I got through the 90 minutes, which was good, so hopefully I'll be in contention.

"The good thing about the changes against Longford was that it gave everyone the chance to show what they can do."

Defenders Conor McDermott and Darren Cole will both face late fitness tests, while keeper Peter Cherrie could be back after missing two games with a hand injury. Striker David Parkhouse, who left the pitch injured against Longford, is expected to be fit.

"The gaffer will use his squad wisely and when he thinks they're needed," McDonagh said.

"It won't be a case of the same 11 starting every week."

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