Jarvis relishing return to the Brandywell
Dundalk left-back Dean Jarvis is looking forward to a trip home to his native Derry tonight in more ways than one.
The Lilywhites travel to face Derry City hoping for a win to send them back to the top of the SSE Aitrtricity League and, for the former Candystripe, that simply adds excitement to an already mouth-watering tie.
“I can’t wait to be honest,” Jarvis told dundalkfc.com. “I was on the bench against them here at Oriel Park last month so was disappointed not to play, but that first game at the Brandywell was one that stood out this season.”
After biding his time on the sidelines, the versatile full-back has started the last four matches and is hoping to make that five on the trot in front of a crowd that knows him well.
“I live just a minute away so all the family will be coming to watch. I’m just wondering who’ll they be supporting!” said the 25-year-old.
“My mum goes to the game every week ever since I signed with Derry, so it will be good to see how much stick I get!”
Jarvis joined Dundalk in November after playing his last season as a Candystripe at Maginn Park in Buncrana, Co Donegal, whilst the Brandywell was undergoing a major redevelopment.
Since returning to the stadium they have called home since 1929, Derry have been unbeaten there this season, including a 0-0 draw with champions Cork City on Friday.
Having played under Kenny Shiels for three seasons, Jarvis knows that a tough match lies in store but, with a chance to return to the league summit, he says the whole squad are looking forward to the trip.
“The players can’t wait to go up there. It’s a nice big stadium up there now and the fans are coming to watch them,” said the 26-year-old.
“They’re a young, fearless side and they go out and play. They don’t change the way they play, whoever they are playing, but the boys can’t go wait to go up there.”
Of course, Jarvis is not the only Derry native returning to his former club this evening, with the man who usually plays in front of him – Michael Duffy – also returning to the ground where he made his name.
“Me and Mickey played with each other at Derry for two years. I was left back and he was left midfield. Some say I got him his move to Celtic,” Jarvis laughs.
“We’re always with each other off the pitch and we’re starting to get a good understanding down here. We know each other’s game and it’s working well.
“The last goal against Pats recently really showed what we’re capable of as a team. It was a great bit of combination play up the left hand side between me and Michael, who set up Jamie [McGrath]. It was one of the best goals I’ve been involved in, so hopefully we can keep it up.”
Since impressing in that 5-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic – his first start since the opening day of the season versus Bray – Jarvis has shown his versatility by playing in centre-midfield in the EA Sports Cup win over Bohemians and at centre-back for the second half against Sligo Rovers on Friday.
“I was just chucked in there because of injuries against Bohemians. I’ve never played centre-mid before, so I was taking a few pointers of Shieldsy!
“Then I was thrown in at centre-back against Sligo, but I’d played a few games there for Derry over the last couple of years. I’m more comfortable playing in there than centre-mid, though I’m not the biggest stick.
“But left back’s my number one position. That’s where I’ve made all of my appearances over the years, though I’ll play anywhere the manager wants me.”
Jarvis was certainly in the right place at the right time against Sligo Rovers on Friday night, heading the ball off the line in the last minute of injury time to secure a precious three points for the Lilywhites.
The clearance simply added to the late drama after Patrick Hoban’s 89th minute header helped Dundalk to dig out three points that looked to have gone astray, to provide a huge boost ahead of the trip to Derry.
“A late winner really lifts the spirits, especially coming off the tough defeat to Waterford the week before,” said Jarvis.
“It was a great win and a hard game. A real battle. Sligo put it up to us, so we were delighted to get that goal at the end.”
“We’ve really made Oriel a fortress this season and, as you saw, we just didn’t stop. It just shows the character within the dressing room.“