herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Kenny orders a charge for title

Derry boss wants six victories to win league

DERRY CITY'S young squad have already delivered a trophy this season, and now Stephen Kenny has set his players a simple target for the rest of the year -- win all your games and you'll win the league.

The large travelling support from Derry enjoyed last week's long trek south to play away to Cork City in the EA Sports Cup final as Derry won the trophy for the 10th time.

Given that Derry are only back in the Premier Division after that season in the lower tier and that they have the smallest squad in the country (City have used only 20 players in the league campaign, less than any of their rivals), it can already be seen as a good season for the club.

But City are very much in the mix for the league title, and they can gain a psychological advantage tonight as the teams above them (Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers) are not in action until later this weekend. A Derry win at home to Bray Wanderers tonight would see Kenny's men go a point clear at the top of the table.

"We're seen as third-favourites and most people seem to think the league is a battle between the two Rovers, but we're not bothered about what people say, that suits us fine," says Kenny.

"I'm not worried about what Sligo or Rovers or anyone else does, we're just concentrating on ourselves and if we win our last six games, we'll win the league.

"So often when the league gets to this stage, teams are relying on favours and on other results to go their way, but the bonus for us is that we have our own fate in our own hands. We have a very tough run-in. We have to go Shamrock Rovers, St Pats and Bohemians and they are all tough games, and it's a big ask for us to win our next six games, but we'll try and do it," added Kenny.

Derry must first deal with Bray at the Brandywell. Wanderers showed at Shamrock Rovers last week that they have something to offer, as they took the lead before an early -- and unfair -- sending off of a Bray defender allowed the Hoops to regroup and go on to win 5-2.

"I was in Tallaght last Sunday and I was very impressed with Bray, they are a good side and this is a very tricky game for us," says Kenny

"But we are playing well and playing with confidence. We're unbeaten in 17 games and that win in the League Cup last week was a big boost for confidence as well.

"There isn't as much pressure on us as there is on other clubs and the players are really enjoying their football.

"I think there was more pressure on us this time last year when we were in the First Division and there was real pressure on us to get out of that division."

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