DECLAN Devine was in top form over the weekend, the Brandywell boss celebrating back-to-back wins in glorious weather conditions.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Not for the first time, he directed all praise in the direction of his playing staff who, he said, rose to the occasion when recording back-to-back victories.
“Yes, I think all Derry City supporters will have enjoyed a nice weekend as victories over Linfield and Cork City over a period of four days has given us all a lift,” said Devine yesterday.
“But I think it was important to get players totally focused against Cork as in the past, we may well have struggled to get ourselves up for the second game,” added Devine.
“We all knew the importance of the Cork game on Friday, but the euphoria of the Linfield victory threatened to underestimate that importance.
“In the end, it worked out well for us and with Derry and Cork having drawn quite a few matches over the years, this was a vital victory for us.
“We’ve got to travel to both Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers twice this season - which is a bit unfair - but we’ve only got one trip to Cork, therefore, we must make the most of their visits to the Brandywell and to get a win under our belts at this stage of the season, will breed confidence.”
He also had a word of praise for striker, Mark Farren, whose workrate and determination impressive Devine.
“Mark’s workrate has always been impressive. He constantly puts defenders on the back foot when refusing to allow them to have time when in possession of the ball but, more importantly, he has always been a goal threat and while he scored a very important goal for us on Friday night, I think he would agree that he could have had another one or two,” smiled the Derry boss.
“He presents so many problems with his runs in behind defenders but he’s a credit to himself and I believe there will be quite a few more goals to come. He’s not a million miles away from his best and we’re delighted to have him back in top form.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Deery returned to full training yesterday and it’s hoped the captain will be included in the squad which travels to Hunky Dorys Park this Friday night to face Drogheda.
“Kevin remains a massive influence and to have him coming back to fitness at a time when we face quite a few very important games, is fantastic.
“We are now entering a period with huge games coming away including trips to Drogheda not to mention Sligo and Shamrock Rover (twice) over the next three or four weeks. Those will be tough matches for us but it will be nice to have a full strength squad available as we need every player we have,” insisted Devine.