The Candystripes sit two points behind league leaders Shamrock Rovers and look to be the team most likely to mount title challenge against the Hoops.
Ruaidhri Higgins side have won five of their last six league games that has allowed them to keep pace with Rovers, while others have slipped away.
While Derry are the overwhelming favourites, Higgins has cautioned against taking the Students lightly and insists that his side will be at their best on Friday evening as they go in search of their third victory in the space of a week.
UCD remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one win all season and come into the game off the back of a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers.
Derry: Shane McEleney will get another couple of days recovery time after the central defender came off during Monday’s impressive win against Dundalk.
Mark Connolly and Patrick McEleney are both nearing a return to action, however with a eight-day break until Derry’s next game in Sligo, they look likely to sit this one out.
Higgins said: “Everyone in the country expects us to win, but it doesn’t work like that. UCD have taken points off Bohemians and Dundalk this season.
“We can’t turn our nose up at anyone at all and if we want to finish the week off properly it’s really important that we prepare correctly and come into the game fully focused.”