Belfast Telegraph

Dundalk clash could well define Derry's season, says Junior

Familiar foes: Derry’s Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe takes on Dundalk ace Sean Gannon in the EA Sports League Cup fin
Familiar foes: Derry’s Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe takes on Dundalk ace Sean Gannon in the EA Sports League Cup fin

By Eoin Wilson

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe believes that tonight's league game with Dundalk is even bigger for Derry City than the recent cup games against the champions.

Last month's dramatic EA Sports League Cup final, which went all the way to penalties, was preceded by an epic FAI Cup tie which also needed extra-time before a winner emerged.

Dundalk came out on top on both occasions, but with European football still the aim for the Candystripes, Junior has called this one the biggest of the lot.

"To be fair, we're looking forward to the game and hopefully it will be sixth time lucky, and hopefully we get something from there," he said.

"It's always a tough game going up against them. They are the best team in the league so we have got to match them and do even more than we have done in previous games to get a win there."

The desire to beat Dundalk is also arguably stronger than ever, but with an FAI Cup final and a possible treble on the horizon, the hosts are not likely to take this one easy. Each team remains focused on their separate goals.

"I wouldn't say those cup games are out of our system but I also wouldn't say that they're still there," Junior explained.

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"It's still there that we need to beat them and get revenge in a way, but I think this game on Friday is bigger than the previous ones and we have got to try and go there and get a result, and from there get more results to hopefully get third.

"We have to literally forget about those other games and focus on this one because this is the most important one."

Junior has been a massive hit at the Brandywell since signing from Colchester United on loan. His two goals against Cork City last week took him to 13 overall for the season and having also chipped in with two efforts against the best team in the land this season, he admitted that the move has worked out as well as he could have hoped.

"Everything is going well," he agreed.

"Initially when coming here we set our sights on getting into Europe, and we all knew it was going to be hard, but thankfully we are on the right track. Friday is just another game. We have to go there and try to win and we'll see what happens from there. I'm happy with my individual stats but I'm also happy with how the team is going as well.

"I always say that everyone has made it so easy for me, be it the manager or my team-mates, everyone has made it so easy to settle in. The fans have been great and everything has been, I wouldn't say straightforward, but yeah I'm enjoying it."

Jamie McDonagh is available this evening after missing last week's win over Cork City due to suspension.

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