STEPHEN KENNY will discover today how long influential midfielder, Gareth McGlynn is likely to be missing from the Brandywell club’s race for the Premier Division title.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The ‘Candy Stripes’ go into tonight’s Premier Division clash with troubled Galway United at Terryland Park (Kick-off 7.45 p.m) with doubts lingering over the fitness of McGlynn, who the Dubliner yesterday feared could be missing for ‘several weeks’.
Results from McGlynn’s scan will be revealed to Derry City physio, Colum O’Neill today, but it’s expected that the Inishowen man could spend the next month on the sidelines with suspected cartilage damage in his left knee, which would be a major blow to the club’s title charge.
As James McClean’s immediate future remains in doubt and with the League of Ireland Transfer Window slammed shut last Friday, Kenny is unable to recruit and will no doubt be concerned about his options on the flanks for the remainder of the season.
The Dubliner is currently facing a period of uncertainty with regards the availability of two of his key players, however, he refuses to let that dampen the mood at Brandywell and has stressed the importance of adopting a winning mentality for the next 12 games, beginning with maximum points tonight at Terryland Park.
This evening’s fixture offers a perfect opportunity to reinforce their title credentials as they travel to face the tormented ‘Tribesmen’ who continue to experience a turbulent time with their horrific 19 game losing streak, coupled with their well documented off-field difficulties.
The problems are continuing to mount for the club, but Stephen Kenny plans to show no mercy as the ‘Candy Stripes’ attempt to secure what would be three extremely valuable points.
The Galway United Management Committee declared a vote of no confidence in manager, Sean Connor following the club’s 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers, Drogheda before the summer break and their financial difficulties threaten to jeopardise their very existence in the League of Ireland.
The Brandywell club have registered 10 goals against Connor’s men in two previous league meetings this season, but Kenny is fully prepared for a resurgent Galway as the Belfast man seeks to stop the rot.
However, without the services of both McGlynn (nine) and the suspended Daniel Lafferty (six) who have between them netted 15 goals this season, Kenny has challenged the much sought-after, McClean to weigh-in in the scoring stakes.
“People might be expecting goals but football dosen’t always work like that,” warned Kenny. “Any victory would be a good victory but you have to earn the right to win and we’ll need a bit of composure and we’ll need to take our chances.
“Obviously Gareth and Daniel have scored important goals for us this year and are both absent. So other players will have to step up to the plate and produce.
“None more so than James McClean who’s had a quiet couple of weeks in terms of goals. He scored a couple of goals the last time against Galway and he hasn’t scored in a while now. He’s capable of chipping in with goals and maybe he’ll get on the scoresheet.”
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With three difficult fixtures against St Pat’s (home) and consecutive away trips to Bohemians and Sligo Rovers on the horizon, Kenny expects his side to be fully focussed after last week’s break.
“It’ll be a big boost to get three points. The table doesn’t distinguish where you get your points from. It’ll be a big three points to get a win in Galway going into the next three games.
“We need to re-focus and get ready for Galway and believe in ourselves. We need to show passion and determination and hopefully we can do that.
“We have a lot of potential in the team, we’re unbeaten in ten games. Any sort of win in Galway will be a good win but we have to make sure we get the three points.”
In the absence of Lafferty, Emmet Friars - who has made only seven appearances in all competitions so far this season - will be brought back into the fold for tonight’s clash and Kenny expects him to slot seamlessly into the starting 11.
“He’s quite a frustrating season with injuries and just the form of Shane McEleney and Daniel Lafferty,” explained Kenny.
“He had an excellent season for us last season and he’s capable of coming in and playing really well. He’s a very good competitor and there’s no reason why he can’t have a very good future at this club.
“He’ll be up against a good right winger and Galway have brought in a couple of Koreans,” he added. “The right winger played very well against Drogheda in their last game but Emmet’s capable of slotting in.”