Derry's chance to go top of table

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Kenny Shiels keen to manage Derry City expectations after flying start
League of Ireland Premier Division: Derry City v Shamrock Rovers
Venue: The Brandywell Date: Friday, 8 April Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Foyle 93.1 FM and BBC Sport website from 19:30

Derry City will move to the top of the League of Ireland table if they avoid defeat against Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday night.

The Candystripes stayed level on points with leaders Dundalk after drawing 1-1 at Oriel Park last Saturday.

Derry boss Kenny Shiels will be without injured Gareth McGlynn (hamstring) and suspended Conor McCormack.

Shiels was extremely unhappy with McCormack’s second yellow card which led to his sending-off in Dundalk.

“It’s blatantly obvious that there was nothing committed by Conor (in the second yellow card incident) but he will be missing because you cannot appeal against a yellow card,” said the Derry boss.

“That’s the rule and we have to abide by it.”

With Dundalk not playing Longford Town until Saturday night, third-placed Rovers will move to the top of the table if they win at the Brandywell.

Despite Derry’s impressive start to the campaign, Shiels insists that part of his job is to manage expectations within the club.

Kenny Shiels is unhappy with Conor McCormack’s suspension for Friday’s game against Shamrock Rovers

“The big five are probably Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Cork, Galway, St Pats…even Bohs are in there as well. To break into that would be something we really want to achieve,” said Shiels.

Since their opening weekend defeat by neighbours Finn Harps, Derry have put together a run of four wins and last weekend’s draw at Dundalk.

“After the Harps defeat, they dug in. They’ve worked hard together. They’ve developed a collective spirit,” added Shiels.

“But we’ve got to reproduce that every week. That’s the challenge.”

Shiels revealed that club chairman Philip O’Doherty has promised him funds to buy a new player if the manager feels that it will boost the squad.

However, Shiels is not planning to venture into the transfer market until the mid-season break in July.

“At this stage of the season, we’re better playing through to July in my view even though our squad is maybe shallow.

“If we go now and get someone, it will take them two months to get fit because they will not have played since 2015 if they are out of contract.”

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