by Gary Ferry

Derry City players have not yet practised penalties ahead of Sunday’s FAI Cup tie against Dundalk at Oriel Park.

Sunday’s game has to be played to a finish, with the game huge for both teams and their ambitions for the season.

While Dundalk have qualified for the EA Sports League Cup final, the FA Cup represents Derry’s last chance for silverware this year. Low will return from suspension for the weekend game and he is hoping that City’s run of four wins from four games will stand the team in good stead against the league champions.

“Even before we won four in a row, we feel we could beat anyone in this league anyway,” he said. “We beat Dundalk at home 3-1. It was a close game with nothing between the sides. We then drew 0-0 away from home and I think we were unlucky not to win that game because I thought we were the better team and we had better chances on the night.

“Every player in the squad now is confident, but it is a tough, tough draw because Dundalk are a good team and they have a good manager. Whoever goes through on the night will have to be really good to win the game. I don’t see it being a game of massive chances. I think it will be a cagey affair because I think it’s such a massive tie for both clubs.”

The 2-0 win at Tallaght last week has put the Candy Stripes within touching distance of European qualification for the second year running and Low agrees that third place is now in Derry’s hands.   

“We knew how big a game it was leading up to it,” he said. “It was pleasing going into the game because we replaying so well and we were going into the game with clean sheets also. We knew it would be a hard and physical game going away from home because they get in your faces and they are a kind of direct as well. I thought we did really well to be honest. Football-wise it wasn’t our best game but Kenny had us well prepared, we were solid at the back and we obviously scored two great goals. We couldn’t complain.”

There are now just eight league games remaining, and regardless of what happens in Sunday’s cup tie, the next few weeks will determine the success of City’s season. Low is confident however that the players can remain focused on the tasks ahead of them.

“We have a few hard games to come,” he continued. “There are no easy games in this league, they are all tough. But we’re playing with confidence and hopefully we can secure it. It’s an old cliché but we just have to take it game by game because if you take your eye off the ball you can lose a game and Shamrock Rovers would be right back on our tails. Hopefully we can keep winning and performing the way we are and hopefully we can clinch it.”

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