DERRY City hope to have a new striker on duty tonight at the Belfield Bowl as the injury crisis at the Brandywell continues to get worse, the “Journal” has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Without a league win since May 21st at home to Bray, the “Candy Stripes” trip to UCD tonight is strewn with difficulties with leading hitman, Rory Patterson, now confirmed to be out for action for six weeks having torn his hamstring in training on Wednesday.
And with Mark Farren still struggling with a knee problem, the spine of the Derry squad has more or less disappeared, with only Gerard Doherty available - and he faces a fitness test before the kick-off!
Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, has since opted to act and late yesterday afternoon he signed teenage striker, Conor Murphy, from Monaghan United despite interest from Cork City, Bohemians and St. Pat’s.
Murphy, who agreed terms in the company of his agent yesterday, had been training with Cork for the past few days and many pundits believed he was about to put pen to paper for the “Leesiders.”
At the time of going to Press, Derry have been working hard behind the scenes to have Murphy signed in time to make his debut this evening.
“At this stage, I’m not sure if we’ve managed to get the documentation through in time,” said Devine last night. “We’ve experienced a terrible week having lost to Drogheda and now losing Rory (Patterson) who tore a hamstring in training,” he added.
“We have so many key players ruled out due to injury and I felt it was vital that we made a signing sooner rather than later. With Rory out, young Ryan Curran is our only striker.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”
Questioned on the signing of Murphy who, incidentally, netted the Monaghan United goal in the recent 4-1 victory by Derry in Gortakeegan, Devine was delighted to get him.
“He was my second target and the fact that he was anxious to come to us made it all the more easier,” claimed Devine. “Obviously, my first choice was Patrick Cregg who is now training with St. Johnstone as the CSKA Sofia move appears to have stalled.
“Conor comes to us on a free given Monaghan United’s recent difficulties. I was aware that he was training with Cork City over recent days and, indeed, many people felt he would sign for Cork this weekend but that’s not going to happen.
“As a Dubliner, he has also been approached by St. Pat’s but opted to sign for us as he believes he is capable of furthering his career across the Channel.
“We made a telephone call and he arrived in Derry with his agent on Thursday (yesterday) and the deal was done very quickly. He has signed a deal until the end of the season initially,” confirmed the Derry boss.
Devine has also added former Finn Harps midfielder, Marc Brolly, to his squad yesterday. The player, who can operate on both flanks, represented Dungannon in the Irish League last season and it’s understood he has also signed a contract until the end of the current campaign.
While both Murphy and Brolly took part in last night’s training session, the lack of numbers at the Brandywell was certainly noticeable.
Keeper, Gerard Doherty, sat out the session due to a leg injury - he hasn’t trained this week - but is expected to be fit for the UCD game.
With central defender Stewart Greacen, ruled out and central midfielders Barry Molloy and Kevin Deery also unavailable, the loss of Patterson for a period of six weeks could prove a significant blow.
“As I’ve said, it hasn’t been easy, but I am firmly of the belief that if we can stop conceding silly goals, we can be a match for any team in the Premier Division.
TONIGHT’S UCD PREVIEW
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