- Sunday May 23rd, 2021 @ 14:50
Preview: Derry Vs Saints (24/05/21)
A busy League of Ireland schedule continues on Monday evening as St Patrick's Athletic travel to face Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The match will kick-off at 5.45pm and it will be live on WATCHLOI.
The Saints come into Monday evening off the back of a dramatic 2-1 win over Bohemians on Friday night.
Matty Smith gave St Pat's the lead in the 74th minute with a fantastic low strike before Dawson Devoy's 90th minute penalty looked to have secured a point for The Gypsies, but sub Robbie Benson won it with an injury-time penalty.
That win combined with other results on Friday means St Pat's sit third in the table after 12 games, one point behind Sligo in second and just three points off leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Derry City were also victorious on Friday, Ronan Boyce scored the only goal in the 4th minute to help The Candystripes to a 1-0 win away to Waterford at the RSC.
Opposition Watch And Recent Meetings:
The teams have met once already this season, that was at Richmond Park on April 9th.
Robbie Benson opened the scoring after an hour before 18-year-old Darragh Burns scored his first league goal for the club with 20 minutes left in a 2-0 win.
Derry have since changed their manager, with Ruaidhri Higgins replacing Declan Devine.
Higgins has been in charge for six matches, Derry have won three, drawn two and lost just one of those.
They come into Monday's game in 8th position on 13 points.
St Pat's Head Coach Stephen O'Donnell and Derry Manager Higgins have both spoken this weekend of their close friendship, but both said it will be put on hold until after the final whistle on Monday evening.
The pair are former teammates at Dundalk and close friends off the pitch.
View From The Dugout:
O'Donnell has been reflecting on Friday's win and helping us preview Monday's match:
"We're delighted that we got the three points (against Bohemians) but we've got no time to dwell on what was a great victory. Derry had a good win themselves against Waterford and they'll be buoyed by that so it should be a good game on Monday and it's one we are looking forward to."
O'Donnell was also asked if it's strange for him to be coaching against the likes of Higgins and some of the other young managers in the league, given his relationship with them off the pitch?
"Yes of course it's a little bit strange, especially when you are so close to someone and then you are coming up against them. It's something that we've probably always spoken about, that maybe it would happen at some stage if somehow we both lucky opportunities or good breaks down the line. We'll have a little laugh about it but only after the game on Monday."
The St Pat's players did a recovery session in the sea on Saturday morning before continuing their preparations on the training pitch on Sunday morning.
Manager Alan Mathews has been speaking about the quick turnaround.
"There are a few periods across the season when you are going to have three games in a week, it's part and parcel of playing in the league and this is one of those occasions. We'll play on Monday and then on Friday against Dundalk before a little break. We'll hopefully have a full squad to pick from for what will be a tough game.
Ruaidhri Higgins has come in and made an immediate impact and got some very positive results. We are going to have to play well to get anything out of the game. It's always a positive when you go into the game off the back of a good result, which we got against Bohemians.
Our players have shown an excellent attitude and resilience and they know if they keep working, they'll get their rewards. We are going into the game full of confidence."
Robbie Benson returned to the pitch on Friday after a five match injury absence. He replaced Chris Forrester in the 55th minute and made a brilliant impact, getting an assist for Matty Smith's opener and then scoring the winner from the penalty spot in injury-time.
He was very happy to get back to action but his focus has quickly turned to Monday's game:
"We were in the sea on Saturday to get the legs flushed out, we've had to keep on top of our recovery and our sleep and get our food right, and then our training session on Sunday morning to prepare for the game.
Derry have had a bit of a new manager bounce with Ruaidhri Higgins coming in and confidence is everything is football and they seem to have it at the moment, it's going to be a tough tough game going up to the Brandywell, but we are more than confident in our squad that we'll be able to go up there and get a result."
Team-news: Cian Kelly (foot) remains out but has stepped up his rehab in recent days, Darragh Burns and Jay McClelland are both nursing knocks to their knees and are continuing their respective recoveries well.
Where Can You Watch The Game: The match will be live on WATCHLOI, with an early kick off at 5.45pm on Monday evening.
Updates: Alternatively, you can catch updates across all of our social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
Photo credit: Inpho Sports