Shiels urges Derry to stay a step ahead in their European quest
Derry City v Dundalk, Airtricity Premier Division: Maginn Park, Tomorrow, 2.30pm
Derry City will attempt to restore some pride and stay on track for Europe when they face league champions Dundalk at Maginn Park tomorrow afternoon.
The Candystripes fell to an emphatic 4-0 defeat in last Sunday's FAI Cup tie at Oriel Park, ending any hopes of silverware this campaign for Kenny Shiels and his players.
But tomorrow's game is about more than just pride for Derry, who need the three points on offer to stay ahead of Shamrock Rovers in the race for Europa League qualification.
With just seven league outings remaining, the advantage lies with Derry, thanks in no small part to their recent 2-0 win over Rovers at Tallaght.
But with Shiels' men facing a tougher run-in than Rovers, nothing can be taken for granted.
Shiels, hoping to lead Derry to a fifth successive league victory tomorrow, is now hoping for an improvement in the performance this time around as well as a similar result to the game at Maginn Park back in March, when Derry emerged as 3-1 winners against the Lilywhites.
"We know we let ourselves down," Shiels admitted.
"We went to Dundalk without a right-back and we knew it was going to be difficult, and three of the four goals came from that area.
"It was hard to take because when you put a square peg in a round hole it doesn't help and that was a big weakness we had.
"We stayed in the game for a long time but then we lost it after the third goal.
"We've worked on that this week and we are looking now to improve in certain areas."
Rovers won their one game in hand against Limerick in midweek to close the gap on Derry, and Shiels admits that every point is precious from here on in.
"We can only control what we can control," he said.
"To be ahead of Shamrock Rovers at any stage of the season under the current climate is a remarkable achievement and I think the boys deserve credit for being ahead of Rovers, never mind challenging them."
Conor McDermott will return from suspension for tomorrow's game but midfielders Lukas Schubert and Harry Monaghan will face late fitness tests.