After slender Irish Premier Division defeats for both last time out, European hopefuls Derry City and Bohemians look to start the Halloween weekend with a well-earned treat from their 7.45pm kick-off tonight. With two points separating them, who will leave Friday night happier?
Derry hoping to keep their encouraging home run alive
Unbeaten at home in their last five league matches, Derry’s last defeat at Brandywell was by runaway leaders Shamrock Rovers in mid-July.
Yesterday, they announced on social media extra tickets have been released and a sellout attendance is expected for what could prove a pivotal game with five still to play between now and the season’s end. A berth in next season’s Europa Conference League is still up for grabs.
Their head coach, Ruaidhri Higgins, appreciates the importance of this evening’s clash.
“It’s a huge game for both sides, maybe even more so because we’re both coming into it on the back of defeats. There’s so much at stake, you have to bounce back very quickly and that’s what we’re looking to do on Friday.
Games between ourselves and Bohs this season have been close but also exciting to watch. Obviously there won’t be much in it again, but I do think it will be one for the fans to enjoy.”
After successive stalemates in 2019, this fixture has featured two or more goals in all five head-to-head meetings since.
Bohemians twice had to come from behind to snatch a point on Sept. 20 in a thrilling 3-3 draw, as goals from Georgie Kelly and Ciaran Kelly’s stoppage-time strike sealed a share of the spoils.
The former increased his goal tally for the campaign to 20 with a clever finish in their 2-1 loss by Waterford on Monday and has scored in four consecutive games. Will tonight follow suit?
The hosts are without midfield duo Jack Malone (suspension) and Bastien Hery (ineligible), though Higgins welcomes back Danny Lafferty while 20-year-old winger Marc Walsh is again involved in the matchday squad after a cameo during their Drogheda defeat on Sunday.
After their under-19s clinched the Enda McGuill Cup earlier this week on penalties at Bohemians’ expense, Derry’s senior side now target inflicting further punishment on their visitors.
Picture source: Final Whistle, Getty Images