Belfast Telegraph

Shiels is urging Candystripes to keep their foot on gas and seal third-place finish

 

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City have achieved their goal of Europa League qualification, but Kenny Shiels is not satisfied just yet, with a third-place finish next in his sights.

The Candystripes have two league games remaining, against Sligo Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic, both of whom are fighting for their lives in the Premier Division.

But Shiels is not concerned with the relegation battle with his team just one point behind third-placed Shamrock Rovers, and he insisted that Derry would be going all out to win the game.

"We have to maintain the integrity and the good spirit of the game, which we have and which we'll always produce on my watch, no matter what people try to say," he said.

"I always want my team to work hard and give everything they have against every opponent. We owe that to the teams around the bottom. We are playing two teams who are fighting for their lives and the only way we can go about that with honesty, integrity and fairness to every team is by doing our best and playing our strongest team.

"It's not going to have any great financial benefit in terms of Europe, but I would prefer to finish third. It would be a great achievement and the kudos of finishing third sits well with me and the players."

Shiels is, however, delighted that Europa League football has been secured, thanks to Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Cork City at Turners Cross. Since then, there have been plenty of plaudits coming Derry's way.

"It's hard to believe that we've achieved Europe," added Shiels. "It was a massive effort from the players and staff. There has been a lot of learning going on this season and hopefully we can propel ourselves forward."

Dean Jarvis (knee) could miss the game through injury while a late fitness test will be given to Nathan Boyle (groin).

Sligo Rovers vs Derry City

Airtricity Premier Division:

Sligo Showgrounds, Tonight, 7.45pm

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