Deery, McClean to miss Premier season kick-off

James McClean pulls a face as he reels away to celebrate his wondergoal against Mervue United on Friday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin     by-line
James McClean pulls a face as he reels away to celebrate his wondergoal against Mervue United on Friday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin by-line

DERRY City skipper, Kevin Deery and left-winger, James McClean, could both miss the start of the Premier Division season this day fortnight, March 4th, the “Journal” has learned.

ARTHUR DUFFY reports

While Deery will definitely not make the Sligo Rovers game having torn a calf muscle, McClean is making slow progress having sustained a slight hip flexer muscle tear.

And while happy at how the pre-season as gone so far, Brandywell boss, Stephen Kenny, urged local supporters to support both players suggesting that “loyalty was a two-way street.”

Both players, who picked up injuries during the close season break, have failed to train or, obviously, play in the pre-season games so far and having heard rumours that supporters had been criticial in relation to injury problems, he urged caution.

“Kevin Deery has shown great loyalty to his home town club despite having been out of action for a lengthy period last season. He turned down a lucrative contract with Shamrock Rovers to play at the Brandywell in the First Division, so loyalty is a two-way street,” claimed the Dubliner.

“James, who also got injured during the break having experimented with new techniques which he wasn’t familiar with, could be available for the opening game but his progress has been slow and he would have to be considered doubtful,” added the Derry boss.

However, Kenny also made it clear that neither player would be out long-term and he believed both would come back strong and add great strength to the squad.

“Now is the time to rally around both players, show our respect and support them. They are not too far off it, but both will play integral roles for Derry City next season. People can be very quick to criticise but both players have been loyal to us and I’ve great faith in both of them and I’ve no doubt they will have a major influence in any success we achieve this season.”

Meanwhile, Monaghan’s hopes to securing a place in the Premier Division is expected to be decided at some stage today as Galway United have appealed the refusal to secure a Premier Division Licence for next season. However, with the border club claiming that they are confident of moving up, they opted to postponed tonight’s fixture at the Brandywell at short notice.

“Our game against Dungannon was postponed at the last minute but, thankfully, we secured a match against Loughgall and produced a decent performance when scoring six goals and leaving without any injuries,” noted Kenny.

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“Now we’ve managed to secure a game against fellow Irish League Championship side, Dergview, at the Brandywell following the Monaghan cancellation. We need the games to get match practise and improve on our match fitness, so I’m delighted that Dergview agreed to travel.”

And with two more pre-season games to negotiate after tonight - against Institute in Drumahoe on Monday and Salthill Devon at the Brandywell next Friday, Kenny was delighted at the progress being made.

“Ruaidhri Higgins and Emmet Friars will be added to the squad which travelled to Loughgall and, hopefully, we will achieve a similar performance. We scored six goals and got through a great workout without any injuries, so I’m delighted about that.

“It was an excellent team performance and we will be hoping for more of the same against Dergview on Friday and against Institute on Monday night next at the Riverside Stadium,” concluded Kenny.

Tonight’s game will kick-off at 7.45 p.m. and admission will be £5.00

Season Ticket Deadline

Derry City supporters who prefer to occupy the same seats at matches throughout the 2011 Premier season have until Friday next, February 25th, to renew their seats, otherwise they will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

It’s understood the reason for the deadline surrounds the production of the new-style season ticket which has been produced in a similar style to that of a credit card.

“At the moment we’ve sold in the region of 800 season tickets for the new season, but some supporters have failed to make it clear if they will be renewed their seats,” said Mr. Sean Barrett, the club’s vice-chairman.

“We also have a list of supporters wishing to take adavantage of seats which will not be renewed for the new season, so in order to keep it right, we’ve decided to extend the renewal deadline to today week, Friday, February 25th.

“Any seated tickets not renewed by that date will go on general sale,” confirmed Mr. Barrett.