Liam Buckley has offered his support to Peter Hutton after the Derry City boss was criticised for fielding a weakened team in Monday night’s five goal thrashing by championship chasing Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Hutton made no apologies for his decision to rest SEVEN players for the trip to the Co. Louth venue and Buckley has refused to blame the Derry man for his own side’s demise in the title race, claiming the Richmond Park side’s shortcomings were down to both him and his playing staff.
Dundalk’s 5-0 win on Monday night signalled the end of the reigning champions’ slim hopes of retaining their title as the ‘Lilywhites’ reopened a six point lead over nearest rivals Cork City.
Cork manager, John Caulfield suggested he wouldn’t have fielded a weakened side against Dundalk if he found himself in Hutton’s position.
However, Buckley held a different view, conceding he wouldn’t criticise the Derry boss for giving some of his squad players a run-out with Friday’s FAI Cup quarter-final against Drogheda United looming large.
“His (Hutton’s) priority is definitely Friday’s game,” said Buckley. “If Derry finish fourth, fifth or sixth in the bigger scale of things it’s probably not going to make a big difference.
“I know Peter, he’s a winner, a top manager and a top guy and I know he has one eye on Friday.
“If you want to win the league you have to win it on yourself. If we don’t win it I’m not going to put it down to Derry fielding a weakened team.”