City of Derry are the only side with a 100 per cent winning record in all five Divisions of the All Ireland League, but they face a real test of their promotion credentials as they travel to second-place Highfield.
Derry made it six wins out of six against Greystones last week but coach Terry McMaster wasn’t happy with the performance.
“It was our worst performance of the season for whatever reason, but we were a couple of guys down. There was a bereavement in the club and a couple of guys took half-term breaks but it is no excuse for an inept performance,” he said.
“I suppose it is a good sign when you play badly and still can get a win. We reviewed it on Tuesday night and the players all held their hands up and it has to be better if we’re going to come up the road this week from Cork with a win.”
Derry have a six-point lead over Highfield and McMaster wants to extend that going into a three-week break.
“When we looked at the other results last week we expected Highfield, having home advantage against Seapoint who were bottom of the league, to have won that game more than 14-3. We still kept our six-point cushion but what would be really pleasing if we could make that a 10 point cushion by beating Highfield in their own patch.
“A win would set us up nicely going into that window.”
“It’s a man’s world down there and it is not for boys, I told the players they need to man up, it’s about the man in the green and black jersey and going down there collectively as men and fronting up because that is what they will be doing to us.”
“We don’t want to get into an arm wrestle with them and that’s what they will want us to do, we can do it if we have to but our style of play would be move teams around the pitch.”
Prop Chris Shields has been ruled out for the season after suffering an ACL injury in training, Ulster U20 prop Rory Squires keeps his place after an impressive display against Greystones.
David Houston and John Burns are both back.
Rainey travel to third placed Greystones, Armagh host Bective while Dungannon welcome Barnhall to Stevenson Park.