Derry ‘Ken’ challenge for title - insists Oman

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FORMER BRANDYWELL favourite, Ken Oman believes Derry City have the potential to be challenging with the best in the Premier Division title race this season.

SIMON COLLINS reports

The Dubliner, who is settling in nicely to life at Tallaght since his switch across the Irish capital from Bohemians last summer, labelled the ‘Candy Stripes’ as legitimate title challengers providing Stephen Kenny can keep the nucleus of the team away from the treatment room.

Already familiar with several of Derry’s side from his time at the Brandywell and, of course, with both Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn from their time at Dalymount Park, Oman was highly impressed with the calibre of the young players elevated to the senior ranks of the club since his last foray north of the border.

“If this Derry side stay fit then they’ll easily get into top four, maybe even top three,” said Oman. “They could probably even be up there challenging for first or second at the end of the season.

“Judging by that performance and knowing the way Stephen (Kenny) will have them set up, they’ll definitely be up there. If they keep their first 11 fit then they’ll be up there challenging.

“The Derry squad is very good, even the young ones that have come in. Stewart Greacen looks like he’s a tough, battling centre-half and he’ll compliment Shane McEleney in there as he’s quite a good ball player. Derry look a decent side and they’ll be a match for anyone in this league.”

The no nonsense central defender played a pivotal role in preventing Kenny’s troops from causing a major upset on Friday night, making several critical interventions and he was first to admit that the visitors were relieved to have taken a point from the fixture.

“We’re happy with the point,” he added. “This is a tough place to come to, I know that from playing with Derry and playing against them. It was one of those games where there wasn’t a lot of chances created but a draw for any team coming to Brandywell is a good point.

“If you win 1-0 up here you’d be doing really well. People are expecting us to go everywhere and beat teams but that’s not the case.

“We defended well but we never even tested Gerard (Doherty). We didn’t attack the way we can. With the players we have we will cause any team problems so we’re disappointed in our performance but not with the result.

“Ten points from four games is a good return. We’ve only conceded one goal in four games so defensively it’s okay. I know people are saying we’re not playing well but we’re getting the results and that’s all that matters.”