Derry City Chairman, Philip O’Doherty may have agreed to bankroll Peter Hutton in his pursuit of a striker but the Derry manager’s attacking options remain limited going into tonight’s game against Bohemians at Dalymount Park. (K.o 7.45 p.m.)
And while Hutton has set his sights on potential targets before the close of the transfer window next weekend, one man who is unlikely to be arriving at Brandywell any time soon is Portadown striker, Darren Murray.
Hutton yesterday accepted defeat in his attempts to sign Murray but he hasn’t given up hope of adding much needed firepower to his squad before the end of next week.
“We did enquire about him (Murray) but he’s absolutely going nowhere,” confirmed Hutton. “I’ve spoken to Ronnie (McFall) and he’s adamant he’s going nowhere.
“He would have been a great option for us but I don’t think it’s going to materialise.”
Hutton has been actively pursuing other avenues but refused to reveal any targets.
“We’re certainly in the market to bring in a couple of players,” he added.” We’ve let a few players go for different reasons so it’s important we strengthen the squad.
“And it’s safe to say that the striking department is one priority. We have to add a few bodies to the squad.
“We have targets. Some are probably unrealistic, some are realistic but you have to try and go get who you want and if it’s not to be then you move onto the next option.”
The onus was very much on finding the back of net during Derry City training sessions this week and with Hutton revealing that new signing Mark Quigley is not yet ready to make his full debut, he’ll be expecting everyone to contribute in the goalscoring stakes against the ‘Gypsies’.
We’ve focussed a lot on finishing, having that composure in front of goal and getting into good positions in training this week. It’s just about getting the players into the habit of hitting the back of the net.Peter Hutton
Indeed, finding the net has been a major problem this season with Derry having netted just 12 league goals and finishing 12 of the opening 20 games without scoring!
The ‘Candy Stripes’ have yet to score since returning from the mid-season break and Hutton is determined to end that mini-goalscoring drought in Dublin tonight.
“We’ve focussed a lot on finishing, having that composure in front of goal and getting into good positions in training this week.
“It’s just about getting the players into the habit of hitting the back of the net.”
With Quigley expected to start on the bench, Hutton will choose from Cillian Morrison, Ryan Curran and Patrick McEleney to lead his attack.
“I don’t think Mark (Quigley) will be ready to start just yet,” he revealed. “He’s still building up his overall fitness.
“We’ve been in contact with a guy in Dublin who is going to have one-on-one sessions with him to build up his strength and conditioning.
“We’ll coordinate a plan with him. He’s very eager to start but we just don’t want him breaking down by playing him too soon.
“But the mood has been very positive in the camp. They’re a young group and they bounce back very quickly. So hopefully they maintain a good level of belief in themselves because in the last two games we should have had both finished by half-time with the amount of chances we had against Bray and Limerick. It’s important we start taking those chances. I’d be more concerned if we weren’t taking them.
“Dalymount has previously been a happy haunting ground for us so we’d like to think we could go there and get a good result,”
Hutton is confident his side can end a dismal 11 match winless run against Bohemians tonight, despite being without the services of suspended midfielder, Philip Lowry.
However, the Derry boss knows his side face a difficult test against a fifth placed Bohs team who have added Eoin Wearen to their ranks this week.
“They’re all big games now,” said Hutton. “Bohemians have had a good season thus far and they have a good, big squad which they’ve added to this week with Eoin Wearen signing.
“So it will be tough. We had a tough game against them in the Brandywell (1-2 on April 24th) in a game I felt we should have got something from. We were very dominant second half and it was a sucker punch when we got hit on the break and they scored.
“It was one lapse in concentration and they punished us.
“They’re one of the hardest working teams in the league. Even in that performance at Brandywell they really stuck together and worked hard for each other.
“They have shown a good level of consistency and they have some good experienced players in there with Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy and Derek Prendergast who have all been around.
“Anto Murphy was exceptional for Bohs as centre half against us back in Aparil, He’s out suspended as is Philip Lowry for us so we just have to reshuffle the squad a bit.”