Ruaidhri Higgins insists Derry City will attack Shamrock Rovers in tonight’s highly-anticipated top-of-the-table clash at Tallaght.
The Candystripes head to the home of the champions having lost first place following successive draws with Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic.
It brings an end to their two-month stay at the top of the Premier Division at a crucial time with Rovers now back in front having won seven of their last eight league games.
But Higgins is not at all fazed by the switch in leadership and admits he can’t wait for the game between the two best teams in the country at present.
“You can see over the last month or two why they are back-to-back league champions and they have shown unbelievable consistency over the last number of games,” he stated.
“They know how to get the job done. We’re ready for it and it’s a game that we’re really looking forward to and we’re going to go there and try and win.
“It’s too early to be talking about crunch matches and not losing.
“As we said, our aim at the start of the season was to close the gap substantially and I think we’ll achieve that, but for us to really elevate ourselves as a team, we need to be ambitious and go and try and win in these places, and we have absolutely no fear in going there.”
Midfielder Patrick McEleney is set to miss tonight’s game after picking up a suspected hamstring injury in the draw with St Pat’s, while defender Cameron McJannet remains doubtful with an ankle problem .
Meanwhile, there has been some good news ahead of the trip to Tallaght, with striker Jamie McGonigle named the Soccer Writers’ Association Player of the Month for April, becoming the first Derry player to win the award in nine years.
McGonigle scored five goals in two games towards the end of last month, including his first City hat- trick in the 7-1 demolition of UCD at the Brandywell.
The 26-year-old followed that up by netting twice at Richmond Park as Derry won 4-0 against St Pat’s to take him top of the goal scoring chart with nine strikes.
“I’m delighted to win,” said McGonigle after becoming the first Candystripe to take the accolade since Barry McNamee back in April 2013.
“It’s good recognition for the month that I’ve had and the goals that I’ve scored.
"Some of the nominees that were there, the quality of players, I am delighted it was me who was selected.
“The hat-trick against UCD helped massively as I was on a drought. It’s not that I wasn’t playing well but I just wasn’t scoring goals so that gave me my confidence back. I then got another two against St Pat’s the following week.
“I always set myself a target for 20 goals and I’m on nine from 14 games at the moment so I am on target to hit that 20.”
Derry midfielder Cameron Dummigan has, meanwhile, signed a contract extension t hat will keep him at the Brandywell until the end of the 2024 season.
“I’m really enjoying it here and the coaching staff, players and supporters have been brilliant since I joined,” he said. “It’s a great club with great people and I’m very happy here.
“I’ve worked with Ruaidhri for numerous years at Dundalk but this is the first year working with him as a manager and I’ve really enjoyed it.
"I like the way he wants us to play. He’s done an amazing job since he’s came in as manager.”