DERRY City will hope to consolidate their high-flying second position in the Airtricity Premier Division when they line-out under the RTE 2 cameras at Dalymount Park tonight to face Bohemians. (Kick-off: 7.05 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And while the Dubliners may have bounced back from a 0-3 reversal at home by Sligo Rovers recently, Aaron Callaghan’s newlook charges bounced back last week with a good victory over Shelbourne in the traditional Dublin Northside Derby fixture.
Seasoned performers such as Derek Prender, Dave Mulcahy and Stephen Paisley are now part of the newlook Bohemians revolution and, according to Callaghan, their experience will continue to prove vital this season.
“Their experience counted when Shels had us pinned back for 20 minutes in the second half in our last match,” noted the Bohemians’ boss.
“But Derry City will provide us with formidable opposition having scored seven goals in their last three games, while conceding none.”
“They will travel brimming with confidence as they have enjoyed a good start to the campaign so we must make sure our preparation is right and we must concentrate on our own performance and make sure we don’t repeat those errors that cost us against Sligo,” he added.
On the team front, Michael Barker has joined the injured list with an ankle problem while Owen Heary (knee) and Chris Lyons (ankle) remain out.
Happy Hegarty, but
more to come!
Boosted by their early season league statistics - Derry have scored 14 goals and conceded just two (against last season’s champions and runners-up) - but the Brandywell club’s assistant boss, Paul Hegarty, insists his troops will not be getting carried away at this early juncture.
“While we are happy at the way the season has started, we remain disappointed that we didn’t get at least a share of the spoils in the home game against Sligo Rovers as we felt we deserved a draw.
“Equally, I was very disappointed that we failed to defeat Drogheda at home as I felt we put in a very good performance and on another night Rory Patterson would have netted at least twice, but he didn’t get the rub of the green in that match,” recalled Hegarty.
“However, since then, the players have kicked on. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves; they continued to work hard for each other and as a result they’ve been creating no shortage of scoring chances. They have recorded some great results after quite a few decent performances.
“But the players know that we’re in the early stages of the season and we must continue to push on as we believe there’s a lot more to come from the current group,” he insisted.
Hegarty also believed that Derry also had strength in depth this season, given the recent performances of teenagers such as Michael Duffy and Ryan Curran, to name but a few.
“Both Michael and Ryan have featured in the first team and both have done well. They will continue to feature and gain experience and we’ve no problem putting them in.”
Looking towards tonight’s televised game, Hegarty felt Bohemians would prove to be a tough task.
“We did well in our trips to Dalymount Park last season, but it will be a difficult for us as this is a new team, a different set of players.
“That said, if we can play with the confidence we’ve already shown over recent weeks and play at a reasonable tempo, I believe we should be okay.”
On the team front, Rory Patterson and Sean Houston (hamstring injuries) have joined Stewart Greacen and Kevin Deery (both knee problems) in the treatment room and they will not be involved against this evening.
On a brighter note, Paddy Kavanagh could well make his first start for the “Candy Stripes” having entered the fray as a second half substitute when making his debut against Bray Wanderers on Monday last.
The Derry management team, therefore, will plan around the same panel which defeated Pat Devlin’s side 2-0.
EA SPORTS Cup Draw
Menwhile, there will be a competitive north-west derby fixture this season with Derry City have been drawn to face Finn Harps in Ballybofey in the second round of the EA SPORTS Cup campaign.
And while Hegarty felt the importance was to secure home advantage, he was happy to travel the short distance into Donegal.
“If we didn’t get a home draw, then you want to travel as little as possible and we’ll take a game in Finn Park,” he continued.
“It’s a derby match, so there will be a bit of extra bite in the fixture. That said, the match is a few weeks away, so it’s a bit early to comment on it,” he concluded.
The full second round draw resulted - Pool 1 - Limerick v Waterford United and Wexford Youths v Cork City; Pool 2 - Finn Harps v Derry City and Sligo Rovers v Mervue United; Pool 3 - Bohemians v Bray Wanderers and Salthill Devon v St. Patrick’s Athletic; Pool 4 - Drogheda United v Longford Town and Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk.
The draw for the quarter-final will be an open draw.