Derry City’s Jordan McEneff insists his side must not get carried away with their league leaders status, after champions Shamrock Rovers dropped points yet again last Monday.
The Candystripes made it back-to-back wins in the capital with a comfortable 4-0 win over UCD, while the Hoops twice came from behind to earn a 4-4 draw at home to newly-promoted Cork City, as their poor start to 2023 continued.
Derry remain at the summit on ten points after four games, but McEneff, who netted a fine brace in Belfield, says they mustn't worry about how their rivals are doing and focus on themselves.
“I wasn’t here at the start of last season, but we can’t get carried away,” said McEneff, as Rovers also began 2022 slowly with three wins in their opening seven games.
“Rovers are champions three times in-a-row for a reason. They have a run in them and they can go unbeaten. We just have to continue doing our job and not worry about them.
"It’s still early on. We have a long way to go and we’ll just continue to go into every game looking for three points.”
The former Arsenal academy midfielder was dropped for their Tallaght Stadium win last Friday, but came back into the starting 11 on Monday night and staked his claim with two fine first-half finishes.
“You want to be starting every game, especially the big ones, so of course you are a bit disappointed,” said the 22-year-old, who signed last August.
“But you have to get behind the boys and when you do come on, you try to see out the game like we did on Friday. When I get a chance I want to go out and prove myself and I think I did alright against UCD.”
McEneff was pleased his side backed up their 2-1 victory over the champions with another three points against the Students, although he says there is room for improvement.
“If you ask any of our players, we could have played better,” McEneff added, who rose to the top of the goalscoring charts with four goals in four games.
“All that matters is the three points. Obviously you want to play good football, but I think we are learning now that you'll take the three points even if you don't play as well as you want to.
"I wouldn’t read too much into that (being top scorer). It’s a good feeling and hopefully it can continue.”
The FAI Cup champions host Dundalk on Friday, who also come in the game on back-to-back wins too, and McEneff is expecting another tough encounter after they failed to beat the Lilywhites last term.
“Dundalk’s always a tough game no matter when you play them. They are big and physical with good players who will get after you. It’ll definitely be a tight game on Friday and hopefully we can get the three points.”
“The thing about playing UCD, they have no fear no matter who they are playing, but we were professional and got the goals,” added Derry assistant manager Alan Reynolds, who took charge in Belfield as Ruaidhri Higgins’ attended his brother’s funeral last Monday.
“Ruaidhri picked the team and we were here to carry out things for him. We had to concentrate and get the job done.
"We won't worry about the other teams, we're just concentrating on ourselves. It was a great win and will be a different test on Friday.”