DERRY CITY: ‘We must prove we’re no one season wonders’ - says Ward

Derry City midfielder, Keith Ward says he would love to stay at Brandywell next season.
Derry City midfielder, Keith Ward says he would love to stay at Brandywell next season.

KEITH WARD says Derry City must prove they’re not just a ‘one season wonder’ and he’s desperate to remain on Foyleside to be a part of the club’s European crusade next year.

The Dubliner believes it’s no fluke the Brandywell club has secured European football, despite being written off before a ball was kicked as relegation fodder, such is the talent in the squad.

I’d love to stay here next year with the lads in Europe. Hopefully I’ll speak to Kenny soon and take it from there. But under Kenny the future looks good, so why not stay around?

Keith Ward

And he reckons the future is bright under manager, Kenny Shiels who has given the players the freedom to express themselves this season.

“It’s easy to be a one season wonder but you have to build on that next year and be hungry again,” said the midfielder.”

Asked whether he wishes to remain at the club next season, Ward said he would ‘love to stay’ and is hopeful of negotiating a new contract in the coming weeks.

“I’d love to stay here,” he declared. “I want to play for a good team and Derry are a good team to be playing for. The way we play under Kenny - that’s the way the football should be played in this league and Kenny’s great for that. I’d love to stay here next year with the lads in Europe. Hopefully I’ll speak to Kenny soon and take it from there. But under Kenny the future looks good, so why not stay around?”

Ward signed for the ‘Candy Stripes’ late in pre-season in the hope of reviving his career following a difficult year with Sligo Rovers in 2015.

Having been part of Dundalk’s title winning squad in 2013 before sustaining a knee cruciate injury, he struggled to find his best form.

This year he has drifted in and out of the starting line-up but he showed glimpses of what he’s all about in the 2-1 win over Bohemians on Friday night with his excellent delivery from set-pieces and his natural ability on the ball.

He intends on staying on Foyleside and wants to avoid second season syndrome and improve on what has been an outstanding campaign.

“I came in late to preseason and after the Finn Harps game it seemed all doom and gloom in the first game of the season,” he recalled.

“So it’s a credit to every player here and the manager. You look around and it’s unbelievable the young players coming through. I don’t know what it is up here but Derry just produce young lads with talent.

“The likes of Conor McDermott, Josh Daniels, Rory Holden, Ben Doherty - it’s unbelievable to see these players coming through.

“So the future looks bright under Kenny here. With Europe to look forward to next season and the young lads coming through, there’s a lot to build on.

“And we want to finish third. We’ve Sligo next week who beat us here and we want to beat them and we want to finish the season strongly. Kenny won’t let us just rest on our laurels. We’ll continue to work hard. There’s a lot of competition for places. So we’ll go again next week and hopefully get another win in the last home game of the season.”