Derry manager Rory Gallagher feels that the players won't take 'any team for granted' after the county's recent experiences of back to back relegation, which saw them in division four.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's opener against Leitrim, Gallagher wasn't looking at any 'specific games' when asked where the Oakleafers' promotion hopes hinged.
“Once you take over the team, you work back from the championship but your first priority is to be ready for the National League,” Gallagher told the County Derry Post.
“It is irrelevant who the opposition are, we just try to get our own house in order.”
At a glance, away games against Down and Cork jump out as potential crunch games but Gallagher insists he has been around the block long enough to know that every game poses a different challenge.
“You are always doing bits and pieces of homework on all the teams but you give every single team the respect.
“We need to make sure we are there, with the right attitude and the right preparation, ready to give absolutely everything to get over the line against Leitrim.
“After that, you move on to Down and after that you move on to Tipperary. There are no specific games.
“I think when you have suffered the way Derry have suffered, with back to back relegations, (they) won't take any team for granted.”
The return of Liam McGoldrick and the Slaughtneil hurlers back into full training after their All-Ireland exploits has been a welcome boost but McGoldrick is the only one of the Coleraine contingent in contention this weekend.
His brother Colm, who was initially in Gallagher's plans, hasn't joined the panel. Niggling groin problems will keep Ruairi Mooney and Niall Holly out of contention, after managing the injuries through their hurling campaign. Gallagher confirmed that Holly was due to have a scan on Tuesday.
“We knew about this and he wanted to get playing for Coleraine in the hurling. I didn't expect to have him for the early stages of the league, so we'll see what news comes out of that scan.”
On the plus side, there will be a considerable boost to Derry's defensive options. Regulars Brendan Rogers, Karl and Chrissy McKaigue will be available. As will Liam McGoldrick, Gareth McKinless and Niall Keenan.
McKinless got a knock at training ahead of the Donegal game but Gallagher confirmed he is now 'going well' in full training.
Niall Keenan has been undergoing rehab on a troublesome groin injury.
“We made a decision to rest him and he done an awful lot of rehab,” stated Gallagher. “He is back training and we expect him to be in the squad but he hasn't the same volume of training done.”
Benny Heron, Shea Downey and Niall Loughlin could all be available for the Down game.
“Jack Doherty has been struggling with a hamstring niggle, so we'll see how he responds.”
On the topic of naming a captain, Gallagher indicated the management 'hadn't told the players' and it would be announced this week.
- ALSO - Derry v Leitrim preview....click here
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