KENNY Shiels has called for a greater ruthlessness in front of goal from his misfiring Derry City side ahead of what he has billed as ‘one of the best football games in the league’.
The ‘Candy Stripes’ were held to a scoreless draw against a battling Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park last Monday night and have scored just six times from their last eight matches going into Saturday night’s clash against Limerick at Markets Field. (K.O. 6.30p.m)
And having seemingly shored up a previously leaky defence in recent weeks with two clean sheets in succession, Shiels reckons it’s time his side start putting teams to bed.
During the club’s recent stutter where they failed to win in seven attempts, the options that last season’s leading marksman, Rory Patterson provides have come to be missed more and more.
Attacking midfielder, Barry McNamee is currently City’s top scorer with five goals and Shiels insists his side must find an attacking ‘formula’ which works going into tomorrow’s trip to Munster.
“We’re still just above mediocrity and need to get better in terms of scoring goals,” said the Derry boss. “We’ve got to improve on that side of our game which I feel we can. We’re trying to get the right formula. We’ve tried Nathan (Boyle), Mikhail (Kennedy), we’ve tried everybody to lead the line. Rory Patterson has been a massive loss in that regard because of how we play.”
If we can get through this period where we’ve four away games in five and we get three points, then we can build on that.Kenny Shiels
Record on the Road
Under Shiels’ watch Derry City boast an impressive record on the road having lost just four times in the league. Finn Harps (2-1), Dundalk (3-1) and Cork City (2-1 and 3-0) are the only teams to inflict a defeat on City on their travels since March 2016, which is an impressive record Shiels is hoping to keep intact this weekend.
Saturday’s fixture is the second of five away matches Derry face this month and Shiels is desperate to extend the five game unbeaten run and close the gap on second placed Bray Wanderers who are just three points ahead going into Friday’s clash against Finn Harps in Ballybofey.
“We’re looking for a European position,” said Shiels. “We’re three points off second.
“If we can get through this period where we’ve four away games in five and we get three points, then we can build on that.
“If we can win we’ve got seven from our last nine which is good batting. We’ve drawn four and won once in our last five games. I want to go there and win and the Derry people know we go to win games.”
Shiels had predicted Limerick would emerge as potential title contenders at the start of the season but with the change in managers it appears to have hampered their progress of late.
But the Derry boss still believes they are one of the better sides in the league.
“Limerick are a good team and I like the way they play. It’s probably the best football game in the league at the moment - Limerick v. Derry City. They’re good, technical games and these are the ones they should be putting on the television I think.
“I still say they are one of the best teams in the league in terms of what they produce and the entertainment level.
“They’re good at retaining the ball and are a bit like ourselves. I’ve seen them dominate games and not win. They’re a good team and if we come away from there with a draw I’m sure people will say that’s a really good result.”