City on course for Shiels’ top six target

Derry City defenders, Dean Jarvis and Aaron Barry, are nearing a return to full fitness and are expected to make the bench against Sligo tonight.
Derry City defenders, Dean Jarvis and Aaron Barry, are nearing a return to full fitness and are expected to make the bench against Sligo tonight.

AS THE first phase of Airtricity Premier Division matches nears an end for Derry City, Kenny Shiels says his side is already almost halfway towards his points target for the entire season.

Shiels believes a total of 45 points would secure a top six finish and, as Derry currently sit in second place on 20 points after just nine matches, they’re well on course for a top half finish.

I think 45 points will get us into the top six. So we’re almost halfway towards that total. There’s 24 games to play so we have 24 games to get 25 points.

Kenny Shiels

No one would have expected the Foylesiders to be in the position they’re in at this stage of the campaign given the dramatic changes at the club in the close season.

And Shiels is taking great pleasure in proving wrong those who tipped his side for the drop.

“I think 45 points will get us into the top six,” predicted the Derry manager. “I’ve compartmentalised it and that’s what I have in my head.

“So, we’re almost halfway towards that total. There’s 24 games to play so we have 24 games to get 25 points.

“One point a game is being ultra negative but that would get us there.

“If we could get 45 points then we would put all our energy into sustaining a good position in the top six.

“The first stage is to avoid relegation however,” he added.

“I would think 36 points should see you clear of relegation. So, if we can get another 16 points, we should retain our place in the Premier Division for next season.

“The next target is then 45 points and, then, it’s European qualification.

“We’re in a good place at the minute, we just have to sustain that and see if we can kick on. But there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Shiels will be hoping to secure three of those points tonight as Sligo Rovers visit Brandywell but he faces the ‘Bit O’Red’ without the injured Gareth McGlynn and Harry Monaghan. However, Aaron Barry and Dean Jarvis could be set for a return to the bench following their injury lay-offs.