PATRICK McEleney reckons Derry City must be wary of a backlash from Aberystwyth Town next Thursday at Park Avenue following the Welsh club’s 4-0 mauling at Brandywell.
One of the star performers on the night and scorer of the all important opening goal, McEleney has urged caution ahead of the second leg tie, but he’s determined not to roll over for the wounded Welsh side.
Admittedly, McEleney does have one eye on a second round clash with Belarussian side, FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk but he claims Derry must expect the worst possible scenario and prepare accordingly.
Memories of Bohemians’ 4-0 defeat to Welsh Premier Division side, TNS in the Champions League second round qualifying tie in 2010 are fresh in the mind of Derry boss, Peter Hutton and he’s reminded his players in order to prevent an unlikely comeback.
The ‘Gypsies’ arrived in Oswestry with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg at Dalymount but were blitzed in the first half of the return leg.
McEleney is confident Derry can rubber stamp their place in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers with a professional performance in Aberystwyth, but warned that the Welsh minnows will be hurting from the first leg and will be out to avenge that demoralising loss in front of their home support.
“We would have took that result before the game started,” said the City playemaker. “Obviously we missed a few chances as well but we’re happy enough.
“We still have to go to Wales and it’ll be like their cup final over there so we can look forward to it.
“If they get an early goal over there, God knows what could happen,” he added. “We’ll take it into Sunday’s game first and then look ahead to Wales.
“Obviously we’ll think about Belarus and the next round but it’s only half-time and we still have a job to do. “If they get an early goal and upset us, maybe if we got a man sent off you, never know. We just have to keep our concentration.”
McEleney opened the scoring with a composed finish on his left foot 14 minutes into Thursday’s game and he was delighted with his contribution on the night.
“I thought my touch was poor so I had to work it onto my other foot and put it in the corner so I was well pleased when it went in.
“We knew if we came out at a good tempo they might fold and that was the case. We got the penalty and they got their keeper sent off and that was really the end of the game but we’re really pleased.
“If we’re preseason and we’re playing a team in mid-season, no matter who you’re playing you’re going to find it really hard, so all respect to them for coming and giving it a go.”
And the Shantallow man was full of praise for new debutante, Philip Lowry and youngsters, Josh Tracey and Nathan Boyle who made their European bow in the final stages of the second half.
“Phily is going to be a great signing,” he said. “He’s been excellent in training and everybody knows what he’s done for Linfield.
“And the two other boys who came through the reserves - fair play to them and to (John) Quigg, Eddie Seydak and Hugh Harkin - they’ve done a great job over the last five or six years bringing boys through, so it’s brilliant for them to play in the Europa League at such a young age.”