“We just can’t afford to drop our standards”- Finn

RONAN Finn is keeping his feet firmly on the ground as he prepares to captain Shamrock Rovers into a pivotal week in terms of their Airtricity League title ambitions.

The Hoops skipper has seen the Tallaght side race eight points clear at the top of the Premier Division table following last Friday night’s 2-1 victory at home to Waterford.

Rovers V Pats66

Yet he has stressed the importance of remaining grounded particularly in the face of two huge upcoming games against second place Derry City in the Brandywell tomorrow night and third place Bohemians in Tallaght next Tuesday.

“Derry is going to be a really tough game” he told The Echo.  “I know we beat them in Tallaght but it was a difficult match.

“The new manager [Declan Devine] has come in there and they’re playing well. They’ve won their last five matches so they’re on a good run.

“The Brandywell is never an easy place to go to so we’ll have to work really hard. We play a high-energy, high-pressing game, but it’s a very big pitch up there and so I think we’ll have to play it tactically.

“We can’t press for every minute of the match so we’ll have to pick and choose our moments. We are playing a good attacking brand of football.

“Out of possession we work hard and when we have the ball, our attacking game is very good. We’ve got good technical players, but we’ll have to take our chances when they come.

“I thought we dropped our standards a bit in the second half against Waterford last week and we should have won by more, but we never really under serious threat.

“It’s a very big week for us. After the Derry game we’ve got Bohemians on the Tuesday.

“Bohs are on a great run as well at the moment and I thought they were very unlucky against Dundalk this week.

“We just can afford to drop our standards. Our form on the road has been very good and we’ve got to be looking at making Tallaght Stadium a fortress, making it a very difficult place to come to.

“We’ve been playing a good brand of football, the way the manager wants us to play and we’ve shown that we’re able to compete at a high level.

“We’re in a good position now, but we’ve got to remain in check and know that we can’t just turn up and expect to win. We have to earn that” he insisted.

Indeed while Rovers fully appreciate the difficulty in trying to get a result in the Brandywell against a confident Derry outfit, the challenge of Bohs will be no easier.

The Gypsies are the only team to inflict defeat on Stephen Bradley’s men in the league this season and the Hoops have not managed a win against their arch rivals in their last six encounters, a trend they would certainly like to buck next week.

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