KENNY SHIELS is exploring the possibility of capturing Bristol City defender, Kodi Lyons-Foster on a month-long youth loan deal.
The former England youth international has impressed during Derry City’s pre-season trip to Dublin this week, starting all three matches against UCD, Cabinteely and Shelbourne.
Shiels is hoping he can come to an arrangement with Bristol City to keep the 20 year-old centre half for at least a four week period to act as cover for Aaron Barry, who is set to miss the start of the Airtiricty Premier Division campaign as he continues his rehabilition from hip surgery.
Lyons-Foster has been capped twice by England at Under-16 level and has been on the books at both Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.
“It’s been a short time we’ve had him,” said Shiels. “He’s a young lad and I’d like to have him for a month to see how he develops around our environment, so there’s a lot of stuff needs to be done there.
“We’ll see how that goes,” he continued. “We can get him maybe for a month on a youth loan - I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how that works out.
You could go to La Manga all you want. But if you have three bread and butter games here like we had then it’s worth its weight in gold because you’re playing in our climate.Kenny Shiels
“But it’s according to our needs. Scott Whiteside has done very well and so has Ryan McBride and Sam Todd who are our own players. We have to recognise we have players in-house as well.”
The Derry boss was pleased with a productive pre-season trip to Dublin as the ‘Candy Stripes’ secured wins over UCD (3-0) and Cabinteely (4-0) before finishing with a 1-0 loss to Shelbourne at Blanchardstown IT on Wednesday afternoon.
New siginings, Nicky Low, Eric Grimes and Mark Timlin all got game-time while Under-19 squad members, Cathal Farren and Sam Todd, who are expected to make the step up to the senior team this season, were also involved.
So it was a worthwhile experience for Shiels who was delighted with his side’s performance, despite the scoreline, in the 1-0 loss to Shels.
“The last game especially, against Shelbourne, was the best game for us because it was so competitive,” he said. “We hadn’t got the balance of our team because it wasn’t important but it was certainly a competitive game and one which benefited the boys more than the first two. It was more intensive than the first two.
“We had a couple of training sessions in there as well. It meant we were able to rotate the players and give them rest when it was required. It’s pre-season and the players are just working hard at the minute. It was good for everybody. It was about getting fitness and we got that.”
While league champions Dundalk enjoyed a pre-season trip to Spain, Shiels believes his side will have benefited from playing teams close to home as the new season fast approaches.
“You could go to La Manga all you want. But if you have three bread and butter games here like we had then it’s worth its weight in gold because you’re playing in our climate. You’re playing at an intensity which is similar to what our game over here is like. We’re replicating the types of opponents we’re going to meet in the league as well.”
Derry City have three more friendly fixtures to come against Institute in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night (K.O. 7.30 p.m.) and two games at Maginn Park against Coleraine on Friday next (7.45p.m.) and Dergview on Monday, February 20th (7.30 p.m.)
So does the Derry boss have an idea of what his starting line-up will be for the opening day trip to Dalymount Park to face Bohemians on February 24th?
“No, I don’t have that. You can’t say this is my team for Bohs. From week to week it’s down to performances, it’s down to the training ground, which player suits a certain game and once we get about six weeks into a season you start getting an understanding of what your team might be. But you will have different teams for different opponents.”
The double header of games at Maginn Park against Coleraine and Dergview will offer a timely chance for the players to familiarise themselves with the playing surface ahead of the first home match against Limerick on February 24th. And Shiels is hoping the Inishowen venue can become an intimidating place for opposition teams to visit.
“I think it will be good for developing an atmosphere and I hope we get a full house for every game.”