DERRY CITY manager, Peter Hutton insists the injury sustained by star striker, Patrick McEleney has opened the door for others to shine with the No 10 role up for grabs against Longford Town next Saturday night.
McEleney sustained a torn groin injury in the 69th minute of Friday night’s defeat to third placed Bohemians when he appeared to over-stretch for the ball and is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
Initial fears that he suffered a tear to his groin were confirmed after a scan yesterday and ‘Fats’ now faces up to six weeks in the treatment room.
After the game Derry boss Hutton claimed the injury was ‘a bad one’ but didn’t want to speculate as to the extent of the damage.
However, McEleney is now set to miss games against Longford, Galway United, Dundalk, Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic. And Philip Lowry, who scored his second goal of the season against Bohs last Friday, is also facing a spell on the sidelines after picking up a groin strain.
“Patrick has damaged his groin and it looks like a bad one,” said Hutton.
“We’ll have to assess it tonight and get another look tomorrow when we come in but it doesn’t look good.
“I thought Patrick was very good (against Bohs) again and he led the line extremely well,” added the Derry boss. “He has a presence and great mobility as well so I’m very disappointed for him and for the team but it doesn’t look good to be honest. “He’s receiving treatment now but we’ll assess it and see how he gets on.”
Injury to one player means a chance for another. And with Anthony Elding having been dropped to the bench for the last two league games and Cillian Morrison featuring as a substitute, both players will have an opportunity to stake their claim on the main striking role.
Yes, it could be an opportunity for someone else to get the shirt and hold onto it.Peter Hutton
“Yes, it could be an opportunity for someone else to get the shirt and hold onto it,” stated Hutton.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for McEleney who has been outstanding so far this season having come into his own in the past two games when playing in a more advanced role.
He has yet to hit the back of the net but he’s been instrumental in the final third and his contribution will no doubt be sorely missed.
Window of Opportunity
When one door closes, however, another opens and for Elding and Morrison in particular, Ryan Curran and Nathan Boyle, they will all be eager to seize the chance with both hands.
Elding has failed to sparkle and replicate the form shown when at Sligo Rovers since his arrival at Brandywell, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Drogheda United and he will be expected to return to the starting line-up for the trip to Longford.
Curran took his chance when netting against Galway United in the opening day of the season but had been faded out by the return of Elding while Morrison has yet to register but has played mainly wide on the right flank when he did feature.
So Hutton certainly has options but will be cursing his luck following the injury to his main playmaker.
McEleney’s injury somewhat overshadowed a disappointing defeat to the Gypsies.
The game began so promisingly with Philip Lowry netting on eight minutes but Hutton was once again made to rue ‘preventable’ goals.
“On another night we could have had a couple of more goals and walked away with three points but that’s the small margins,” said Hutton.
“Prior to the game the players were getting a lot of plaudits for their defensive work but we have to maintain that and keep building on that and not rest on our laurels.
“The two goals were very preventable although the first one was a great strike.
“I thought we bossed the majority of the game and in particular the second half.
“It’s tough but its a steep learning curve for some of the younger players,” he concluded.