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Down's Brian McIver has faith despite threat of relegation

By John Campbell

This time last year Derry were free-wheeling into the Allianz Football League final against Dublin.

Today, the Oak Leaf side are stranded at the bottom of the Division One table with just one point out of a possible 10 and another confrontation looming with Dublin, only on this occasion a modicum of credibility is the modest goal for Brian McIver's side.

Sunday's defeat to Monaghan was Derry's fourth setback in the league, a result that has intensified pressure in advance of the trip to Croke Park on Saturday week which will be followed by a home tie against table-toppers Cork.

For McIver and his players, the agony of a competition which has brought frustration, disappointment and a ration of controversy is palpable.

Yet the Derry boss remains upbeat, conscious that his players are aware of their plight and have pledged to put "a huge effort" into trying to retain their Division One status.

"We have two massive games to come which will determine our future but we will give it our best shot," insists McIver.

"When we played Monaghan on Sunday, there were aspects of our performance that were good but we just did not avail of some of the chances that came our way.

"We had trimmed their lead to two points at one stage but they were able to pull clear again and close out the match. Now we need a huge effort against Dublin and Cork."

And McIver still has faith in his squad.

"The players have been putting in the effort and doing their best. Maybe we have not been getting the breaks that we felt we deserved but the fact of the matter is that we are where we are," he said.

"We are not afraid to go to Croke Park and I would hope that the challenge of playing there again will help."

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