Cup holders and league champions Dundalk stand in Derry’s way, but after the Candystripes’ rousing recovery from 2-0 down at Oriel Park on Sunday to force tonight’s semi-final replay, manager Shiels is confident his side can do it — and win for the first time at home in six games.
He said: “I feel for the supporters, who’ve had to travel this last while to get some pleasure and some satisfaction in what they see.
“And while the way we play has been very good at home, we just haven’t got over the line in the last three or four games at home.
“But hopefully we can get over the line this time and the fans get their satisfaction.”
Beating Dundalk a daunting task as Shiels believes they are three years ahead of Derry in terms of development.
“We learn from Dundalk, because they are ahead of us as a team and as a process. The strength and depth that they have, they’ll be able to bring in [Robbie] Benson, [Darren] Meenan, [David] McMillan, [Brian] Gartland, [Dane] Massey and [Sean] Gannon, so they’ll have a freshness that we can’t afford.”
Nor is Shiels helped tonight by the absence of his captain Ryan McBride who came off with a recurrence of a groin injury on Sunday.
Dundalk are without Shiels’ son, Dean, who injured an elbow in scoring the first goal against his father’s side in that 2-2 draw.
Skipper Stephen O’Donnell serves a one-match suspension while ex-Derry midfielder Patrick McEleney is a doubt with a hip injury.
Derry City v Dundalk;
Sligo Rovers v Finn Harps;
Limerick v Athlone Town.