Rory Hale: "We can go and challenge for the title."
Despite winning their last five games on the trot, very few have marked Derry City up as title contenders this season. Following a rocky start to the 2018 season, Derry's move back to the new Brandywell Stadium has had a huge impact on the "Candystripes" in recent weeks with three wins from three at the impressive new look ground.
Currently just six-points behind early leaders Dundalk and with a game in hand, Kenny Shiels charges face second placed Waterford at the Brandywell tomorrow night with midfielder, Rory Hale declaring a sixth straight league win would prove his teams pedigree as genuine title contenders.
Speaking on last nights Series 2, Episode 8 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, Hale stated: "If we lose on Friday the five wins in a row haven't been as positive as they should be, we've got to beat the top four."
Having already lost to Waterford and Shamrock Rovers this season, Derry's need for a positive result against one of the Premier Divisions elite is clearly on the mind of Kenny Shiels players ahead of this huge home encounter against the high flying "Blues", who crucially will be without midfielders Stanley Aborah and Bastian Heri, following last weeks mass brawl against Munster rivals, Cork City.
In discussion on that well publicised fracas at the RSC last Friday, Waterford midfielder Gavan Holohan stated his belief that the event had been blown out of proportion when also featuring on last nights Between the Stripes LOI podcast.
With both Rory Hale and his brother Ronan preforming superbly since arriving in the League of Ireland, discussion on the duos international allegiance was always likely to surface and it did in a very public manner earlier this year when Northern Ireland boss, Michael O'Neill publicly named the duo when hitting out at his perception of the FAI poaching Northern Irish underage talent.
When questioned on those comments by the Between the Stripes LOI podcast team, Rory Hale labelled Michael O'Neill's remarks as disrespectful. "I don't think he (Michael O'Neill) was that bitter about it, he was just disappointed to lose players but I did feel naming us four (the Hale and McEneff brothers) was disrespectful, going to the newspapers the way he did was disrespectful."
To catch Rory Hale's interview in full, simply use the Audioboom player below to hear last nights Series 2, Episode 8 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, which also featured Waterford FC playmaker, Gavan Holohan and Shamrock Rovers fan, Gary Parsons. Alternatively, listen to the show on Itunes.