SHAKHTYOR SOLIGORSK manager, Sergei Borovski has warned his players not to relax ahead of Thursday night’s second round qualifier and to beware of a wounded Derry City arriving in Belarus ‘intent on attacking’. (Kick-off 6 p.m. BST)
The shrewd Shakhtyor boss, who twice managed the Belarusian national team, expects the ‘Candy Stripes’ to go all out attack as they attempt to claw back that 0-1 deficit from the first leg at Brandywell.
“We can’t relax because this team likes to attack and they will want to capitalise on our mistakes,” said Borovski. “In the first leg we could have scored more but we managed to take advantage of a defensive error.
“The first match was tough but the important thing was to win. That’s what we said before the game - we were going there to win and everything else was secondary.”
Derry certainly must cast off the shackles against Shakhtyor as they attempt to progress to a third round meeting with either Belgium’s SV Zuite Waregem or Polish club, Zawisza Bydgoszcz.
However, City boss, Peter Hutton isn’t so willing to deploy a ‘gung-ho’ approach on Thursday’s return leg and has called on his players to be disciplined.
“We obviously have to go out there and score but we can’t just go gung-ho and be naive about it,” said Hutton last night. “We will go out and give it a real good go. I have no doubt we have the capabilities to go out there and score but we have to be disciplined and have high levels of concentration at the back and make sure we don’t concede.”
The Belarusians - who claimed a 1-0 victory against Torpedo Zhodino in the league on Sunday - deployed three central midfielders and flooded the midfield in the first leg to negate the attacking threat of Patrick McEleney and Barry McNamee and Hutton doesn’t expect them to alter their tactics for Thursday’s tie.
“I don’t think they will change much but that depends on their personnel. I’m quietly confident and looking forward to it. It’ll be a severe test going over there to the heat and it will be a physical test given the conditions we’re expecting.
“So it’s going to be difficult. We’re not going to be apprehensive, I think that’s all out of our system now. The players can go out and relish the experience. They know what’s expected of them.
“Even if they were to score early if we were to score a couple of away goals we go through. So it’s very much still up in the air.”
With their potential third round opponents unveiled at last Friday’s draw in Nyon, Hutton believes his players have a great incentive to overturn that 1-0 deficit on Thursday night.
“It’s a great incentive to go on and pit your wits against another opposition,” he said. “There’s a great financial incentive to get through but we’re not looking too far ahead. It’s nice to know who you’ll meet in the next round if you get through and it’s not the worst draw in the world. We have a bit of work to do first though!”
The Derry squad fly out on a chartered flight from City of Derry Airport tomorrow morning with defender, Dean Jarvis (toe) the only expected absentee as he recovers from a toe injury. However, Hutton is delighted to have Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney available.
“Dean Jarvis is struggling unfortunately he’s still very, very tender in his foot so he’s extremely doubtful at this stage. Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney have tight hamstrings but they should be okay having trained today.”
“They should be okay so the side should be relatively unchanged from the first leg.”
Meanwhile, Derry City’s Premier Division meeting with UCD has been rescheduled for 5pm on Sunday, July 27 at The UCD Bowl due
to the club’s involvement in the Europa League Second Qualifying Round.