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Derry City can end Shamrock Rovers' record unbeaten run, maintains Higgins

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Ruaidhri Higgins. Credit: INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

Ruaidhri Higgins. Credit: INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

©INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

Ruaidhri Higgins. Credit: INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

Derry City will be the latest team to try to stop the Shamrock Rovers juggernaut when they travel to Tallaght today (6pm).

Ruaidhri Higgins’ team are struggling for form and are attempting to break away from the lower ends of the table, a situation which is in stark contrast to champions Rovers, who are five points clear at the top of the Premier Division.

As it stands, Rovers are 32 games unbeaten, recently passing the long-standing record held by Athlone in 1980-81 and Rovers themselves 94 years ago.

Stephen Bradley’s men have not lost a domestic game since defeat to Dundalk in September 2019, and are favourites to extend that run even further today.

Higgins, however, retains belief in his players.

“They have really good depth in their squad, they can make any amount of changes and it won’t hurt them,” he said.

“They are a really good side and we have to respect that but we also have good players and we have to go there and try to stamp our authority on the game.

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“We have players who can hurt them. Obviously they have really good players as well and we need to be switched on to that and we need to compete for everything.

“It’s about having a good structure out of possession and then having a freedom in our play when we have the ball.”

City defender Danny Lafferty, who was part of the Rovers squad which went 18 unbeaten on the way to the league title last year, insists it’s not an impossible task for Derry.

“You’ve nothing to lose but it’s also a great opportunity,” he said.

“They are 32 unbeaten and they are the best team in the country and they are on an unbelievable run, carrying on their form from last year. You have to see it as an opportunity.

“The run has to come to an end at some point so why can’t it be us? That’s why I see it as an opportunity.

“They are going to be favourites, and rightly so, going into the game, so the pressure isn’t on us, so it’s an opportunity to have a go at them.”

A key part of Rovers’ sensational form is their habit of scoring late goals, which they did again to beat St Pat’s last weekend. Once or twice might be considered lucky, but when it happens consistently it’s more than good fortune, insists Lafferty.

“You can say it’s a sign of a Championship-winning team, but they deserve credit because they don’t stop, they keep going, even in the few games they have gone behind,” he reflected.

“They have shown great character to get back into the games. They are relentless in their attacking play and they are scoring late goals which just shows that they fight for each other and they won’t stop until the final whistle.”

Midfielder Jack Malone is an injury doubt due to a slight hamstring strain, but winger Marc Walsh is fit after missing the last two games.

 


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