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Shiels is eager to build on Derry's feel-good factor

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City kick off a hectic schedule of three games in seven days with a trip to Longford Town this evening.

Kenny Shiels' team are neck and neck with league champions Dundalk at the top of the Premier Division after going six games unbeaten, the latest of which was last week's decisive 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers.

The Candystripes manager, however, has admitted that his squad is light on numbers and with a League Cup clash with Sligo Rovers on Tuesday quickly followed by a league game against Bohemians, he knows his players could be stretched to their limit.

Despite that, Derry are huge favourites to see off struggling Longford this evening, an unusual feeling for the Candystripes.

"Negativity can mount quicker than positivity," said Shiels. "Everyone is positive around the city and I'm pleased with that and it takes a lot of work for that to happen.

"We have got to the level where people are happy at how we're doing so sustainability is the key and if we can have that and get another result, that's what we're aiming for.

"We could get beaten and everyone will be saying 'flash in the pan', so we have got to be prepared for every eventuality.

"Life is good but we have to try and keep it like that."

Derry have again gone without credit for their win over Rovers, with many pundits down south focusing on Rovers' weaknesses rather than the Brandywell side's strengths.

It is a situation which continues to frustrate Shiels.

"There has been a lot of reflection in the media since the Rovers game and a lot of focus on Rovers' weaknesses," he continued. "There should be two viewpoints; how good Derry City were and that should be compared with Shamrock Rovers' performance. If the majority of people think that our performance was based on the ineptitude of our opponent, then we'll just have to ride that. I don't mind."

City welcome Conor McCormack back from suspension, while Gareth McGlynn remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Nathan Boyle and Niclas Vemmelund are both feeling the effects of a virus in the Derry camp, but both are expected to be passed fit.

This is the first of three games in seven days for Shiels and his players and the manager is determined to start on a winning note.

"We do heavy work at the beginning of the week and then come Wednesday we start preparing for the weekend game," he added.

"We start to think about the team and how we can keep it strong and how we can keep the momentum in the team without weakening it.

"We also sometimes think if we should reward the team for winning and keep it the same for the following game. These are challenges for any manager but they are good challenges."

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