AFTER their dismal display against Donegal in the Championship last week Derry would have been looking for a good draw in the qualifiers but that did not materialise.
Even though they came out of the draw first they have to travel to Longford who won the division three title last season.
Derry looked far below championship fitness at Ballybofey, they played just like they did in a poor league run, a decent start and then getting over run in the second half.
At Pearse Park they will face a fit and focused Longford managed by former Kildare star Glen Ryan and unless there is a big improvement it could be the end of the championship for John Brennan’s men.
However, Derry have a great record in the qualifiers in the last eleven years and you can never rule them out.
Brennan who has had to contend with an abnormal number of injuries will be tempted to make changes, Eoin Bradley could well start, Lee Moore has a lot of pace and Bliain Gormley is as good a midfielder as there is in the county at the moment and he can score from distance.
Gerard O’Kane and Conleth Gilligan looked as if they were still struggling with injury and several of the defenders looked short of pace.
If Derry are to win and that is a big ask they need to be more direct than they were last week when it was back to the old ‘pass the parcel’ game.
Don’t rule out Derry but Longford are a good team and at home they will be hot favourites.
Five years ago they turned Derry over at the same venue in the qualifiers.