Devine welcomes break in season

Aidan Fitzmaurice

DERRY CITY boss Declan Devine says he can't wait for the mid-season break in the League of Ireland so he can give his players a much-needed rest.

City play their 23rd game of the season tonight as they host Shelbourne at the Brandywell and Devine feels that having so many games -- Derry went all the way to the final in the Setanta Cup -- has harmed their league campaign,

"I think the key factor is to have the players back totally refreshed and ready to challenge for the major honours," said Devine.

"We were disappointed with the return of just 15 points from our first series of matches, but to be fair, the lads have done really well. We've been flogging the same players out every week, some of whom have been carrying injuries and they do need rest.

"They will welcome the break despite enjoying a winning run but, first and foremost, we must prepare for the visit of Shelbourne as that will prove to be a very tough match for us."

Meanwhile Bohemians boss Aaron Callaghan expects a reaction from Sligo Rovers tonight after a bad week for the league leaders in recent days.

"They still have their quality players. We need to be on our game to deal with them, particularly Danny North," says Callaghan, who watches tonight's clash with Sligo from the stand at Dalymount Park as he's suspended.