DERRY City boss, Peter Hutton, reports a clean bill of health for tonight’s Europa League first round qualifying clash against Aberystwyth Town at the Brandywell. (7.45 p.m.).
And having visited the Welsh club’s Park Avenue home to watch them face league champions, TNS, in a practise game last weekend - a match they lost 3-6 - Hutton refused to take anything for granted.
“They are a big, physical side and they have a few goal threats from what I witnessed last weekend. Their front five were given a licence to roam, but all that could change for our game,” declared Hutton.
“In fact, I’m not so sure that they used their top players either, as a few names I had been given to watch our for, didn’t take part.
“However, the onus is on us to stamp our authority on the game at an early juncture and, of course, do all in our power to keep a ‘clean sheet’ which is a priority in European football,” added the Derry boss.
Having come through last weekend’s game against Airtricity League leaders, Dundalk, a match in which Derry conceded a late, late equaliser, Hutton was hopeful of a repeat of that performance.
“They will be a tricky side to overcome, but if we can repeat the effort we produced against Dundalk , then I think we will be in with a fighting chance.
“And despite the fact that Dundalk netted a 95th minute equaliser to make it 2-2, we’ve opted to take the positives from that game and move on.
“I believe we have the players who can hurt them and, hopefully, with a vociferous support behind us, I’d be confident that we can secure the result we need to take into the second leg in Wales next Thursday night.”
Dave Elebert, who has yet to figure seriously in the Derry first team squad remains in the treatment room but it’s unlikely that new signings, Philip Lowry (from Linfield) and Stephen Dooley (Coleraine) will figure.
“Stephen actually signed for us too late for this tie, but Philip’s international clearance has yet to come through. If it does, then it’s possible that he could be added to the squad.”
Hutton believes his troops can overcome Aberystwyth Town and progress to the second qualifying round where the “Candystripes” would face an arduous trip to Belarus to meet Shakhtyor Soligorsk.