Devine admits Hoops are leading the way
Derry City boss Declan Devine believes that Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk have set the standard for the rest of the league to follow.
Derry make the trip south this evening to play the Hoops at Tallaght Stadium with City yet to get a point, or even score a goal, in two meetings with Rovers this season.
A win for the home side would allow them to go level on points, briefly, with Dundalk as the champions kick off their game away to Finn Harps an hour later than the game in Dublin.
"They're the two best teams in the country right now and they've set the bar for the rest of us," Devine said of the title-chasing sides. "I don't think we've been a million miles behind either of the top two in any of the games we've played but, to be fair to them, they made that little bit of extra experience count.
"Rovers are a quality side and they're a seriously tough nut to crack, especially at home, but these are the type of challenges we have to relish."
Rovers boss Stephen Bradley preaches caution, despite two wins already against Derry this term.
"They've shown this year already that they're more than a match for anybody in the league. They'll definitely come down to Tallaght and try to take three points. But we believe we're ready and focused to try to win the game," Bradley said.
''Looking back on the game at the Brandywell we actually played really well and deserved to win. They'll come with a game plan and we've got to respect what they're good at.
''But we'll focus on what we're doing really well. We've got to make sure we drive that home and get more points on the board."
Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley is looking for a response to last week's heavy defeat to Dundalk when they face St Patrick's Athletic.
"We felt the scoreline was harsh last week. That said, we have to respond now because it's another game and we're back at home. There's six points between ourselves and Pat's so it's an important match," Buckley said.
Meanwhile, in cross-channel news, Liverpool have confirmed that three of their Irish players have been released.
It was flagged up last month that defender Conor Masterson, currently in France on U21 duty with Ireland, was being let go when his contract ran out. But recent U21 cap Corey Whelan was also axed, as was young Dubliner Glenn McAuley, who is a target for Bohemians.