Dundalk v. Derry City: Hutton calls for character as Doherty faces late fitness test

Gerard Doherty.
Gerard Doherty.

PRICED up at 12/1 by the bookies to defeat Dundalk at Oriel Park tonight, Derry City’s performance last weekend against Galway at the Brandywell has been duly noted!

And with regular custodian, Gerard Doherty, struggling to make the starting line-up, team boss Peter Hutton continues to scratch his head in frustration.

“Gerard had a scan on his back on Monday last and while it did show a bit of wear and tear, he’s still experiencing back pain,” confirmed Hutton.

“He continues to be treated by our physio, Michael Hegarty, who will made a decision on his fitness on Friday,” added the Derry boss.

“Our reserve keeper, Shaun Patton, was back in training on Wednesday having had nine stitches inserted in his head, so we’ll wait and see how things are with both of our keepers before the match.”

Both Stephen Dooley (hamstring) and Patrick McEleney (groin) remain sidelined but both are making good progress with Hutton hopeful that they will return over the next few weeks.

“Stephen’s problem is now connected with his hamstring. He’s had an injection this week and has been told to rest for at least 10 days so, hopefully, that could sort him out.

“Patrick is making a good recovery and I’d be hopeful that he will be available for selection sooner rather than later.”

Seeking a response after Friday night’s dismal display against Galway, Hutton was, surprisingly, upbeat during our interview yesterday.

“Obviously getting a response is key, both individually and collectively and, to be fair to the players, we’ve had a very good week on the training ground,” he claimed.

“The players realise they will be travelling into the lion’s den and that’s all the motivation they will need.

“Having been booed off the pitch last Friday night, some of them looked very hurt in the dressing room. Very few of them have been used to such an incident. However, they realise they let themselves down and also realised that it’s not nice to receive that response after the final whistle.

“It’s another lesson for them and they must work harder both in training and in matches, individually and collectively and, to be fair, we’ve already had a response on the training ground.

With no wins in three games, Hutton felt there would be a response.

“It will be difficult for us, but I believe we are capable of getting a result down there and we’re confident we can get out of the rut we are currently in.

“It will be tough at Oriel Park, but it’s time to man-up, give the necessary response and show the character that’s always been associated with players who have represented Derry City Football Club,” he concluded.