Will Patching will be an interested spectator when Dundalk host Derry City this evening.
The midfielder’s loan deal with the Candystripes has come to an end just as his parent club welcome Ruaidhri Higgins’ side to Oriel Park.
Derry are in the midst of an incredible run of away results, having won five of their six games on the road since Higgins took charge. That momentum could well help them as they attempt to win at Dundalk for the first time since 2013.
Higgins, who was in the City midfield for that game, knows his troops will be tested, despite the hosts’ recent problems.
“A win at Dundalk is massive,” he said. “Forget league tables and all that, you have to look at the personnel within their team.
“They have got match winners everywhere and obviously it’s Chris Shields’ final game and I’m sure he’ll be going out to win his final game and his team-mates will try to help him do that as well. We know that there’ll be an extra edge to the game, but hopefully we can meet that head on and stamp our own authority in the game and win it.”
Derry make the trip without skipper Eoin Toal, who hasn’t recovered from the hip injury he picked up against Sligo Rovers on Monday night, while Marc Walsh is also likely to be out for a number of weeks after suffering another hamstring problem.
“Eoin is out and he will be a loss. He’s our captain and I can only speak since I have come in, he has been absolutely outstanding and he has led the team by example,” said Higgins.
“While he has been outstanding, we have to adapt and we have got real capable players who can come in. You saw Danny Lupano in the second half against Sligo Rovers, I thought he was very, very good and comfortable.”
It will be a special game for Higgins, who spent a number of years at the Oriel as a player and a coach under Stephen Kenny.
“I have had a lot of very, very good memories during my time there,” he admitted. “I had good success there as a player. coach and assistant manager and it’s a club that’s close to me, but Derry City is my local club and it’s the club that I spent the most time at throughout my career and it’s a club where I want to be.
"I’m absolutely loving managing the football club and I hope I’m here for a long time.”