Stephen Bradley is expecting a tough Tuesday night encounter at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium as his unbeaten Shamrock Rovers side take on bottom club Derry City.

The Hoops have won their last four games on Foyleside, while Derry are currently pointless after three matches, however, Bradley believes that they have the quality to trouble the Dublin side.

Rovers have not lost a league match since the 2019 campaign, having remained unbeaten in their title-winning 2020 season, and travel to Derry on the back of a tough 1-1 draw in Sligo on Saturday night.

"It's going to be a tough game," said Bradley. "I think the results don't tell the full story.

"I watched their game against Waterford and in my opinion they were the better team. They created a lot of good chances.

"I was at the game against St Pat's on Friday and right up until the sending off there was very little in the game and Derry actually had the better chances until the sending off, which completely changed the game.

"They were playing well so I think the results can be a little false. I've no doubt that they'll be ready to go and try and win the game against us so we've got to be ready for that."

But Bradley did admit that his side have enjoyed heading north in recent years as they are very comfortable playing on the new surface at the recently renovated stadium.

"We like the pitch. It's a big pitch and we enjoy that type of surface and the spaces that are on it. It's a difficult game but we look forward to going and playing on it.

"It's great that we have a game midweek in quick succession, but it's important that the squad is ready because we're going to need every player between now and the end of the season to be competitive in all competitions. So using the squad is going to be really important."

St Pat's beat ten-man Derry at Inchicore on Friday night

While Rovers are unbeaten in their opening three games, the champions sit in mid-table, five points off St Patrick's Athletic and Finn Harps, having drawn two of their three matches played.

And looking back to Saturday night's draw at the Showgrounds, while Rovers snatched a point thanks to a last-gasp equaliser, Bradley feels that his side should have left with all three.

Alan Mannus made an uncharacteristic error to hand the home side the lead going into the early stages, but the manager said that such a rare occurrence was not something to dwell on for too long.

"I felt we should have won the game. You take a draw with them taking the lead with so little left on the clock but when you look at our chances we definitely should have won the game really.

"It was very, very rare mistake from Alan. It's just one of those things that you have to get on with. It's very rare so we just have to accept it and get on with it.

"I think this team has shown quite a number of times that it has tremendous character and belief and they showed it again the other night. We never give up and I think that's a really important quality to have."

The Hoops travel to Derry with a strong squad, however, Neil Farrugia and there is a doubt over the fitness of stalwart defender Joey O'Brien

"Neill is still out but we'll have to have a look at Joey, it could be a little bit early for him," said Bradley. "We've no other concerns."

Meanwhile, Candystripes manager Declan Devine must plan without Danny Lupano, who was sent off in the defeat to St Pat's on Friday, however, Darren Cole loos set to return as he has been back training having recovered from a back injury.

"It hasn't been good enough from us and we have to get better," said Devine. "We know how good a side Rovers are but at the minute we just need to focus on what we can change.

"You can already see how tight this league is going to be this season. The players are determined to get back on track and although games don’t come much tougher than this, we’re honestly looking forward to it."