DERRY City have no fewer than THREE players suspended for tonight’s EA Sports Cup semi-final against Sligo Rovers, Brandywell boss Stephen Kenny again forced to include his squad players. (Kick-Off: 7.45 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Team captain, Kevin Deery, central defender, Stewart Greacen and top hitman, Eamon Zayed, must all sit out tonight’s game due to one match bans with youngsters, Ruairi Harkin, Ryan McBride and David McDaid set to secure starting places against the Bit O’Red.
And with keeper, Gerard Doherty, also considered a doubtful starter due to a knee problem, reserve team keeper, Eugene Ferry, is on standby.
New signing, Owen Morrison, is now available to play after his international clearance arrived at the Brandywell last Friday night, but it is not known if the midfielder will start the game having been out of action for quite a few weeks.
However, Kenny is adamant that he wants to win the game and, indeed, follow the club’s “A” Championship side into a final against Cork City, a match which will be televised ‘live’ on Satellite Channel, “Setanta Sports” which be played on Saturday, September 24th with the venue yet to be decided.
It’s believed that if Sligo Rovers won tonight’s game, the final will be staged at Turner’s Cross but if Derry succeed, then the toss of a coin may be called upon to decide if the game be staged at Brandywell.
The Derry boss agreed, that his thoughts had been very much focused on the Premier Division campaign this season, opting to blood young players in both the FAI Cup and League Cup campaigns.
“We have been focused on the league first and foremost,” he confirmed. “And we did use the cup competitions to bring our young players though, but we’ve got to give the youngsters an opportunity to play at senior level unlike so many other clubs.
“And that policy has worked for us with Ryan McBride having successfully stepped up given his performance in the quarter-final against UCD at Belfield. He then went on to win the “man of the match” award in our televised league game against Shamrock Rovers.
“Stephen McLaughlin has also made good strides while representing our ‘A’ team, so it’s a policy that has worked for us and I feel it’s important that we continue to give young players an opportunity to impress,” continued Kenny.
That said, now that Derry have reached the semi-final of the competition, surely more experienced would come into play given the strength of the opposition this evening.
“We have three players suspened, so Ruairi Harkin, Ryan McBride and David McDaid will start the game. Emmet Friars, Michael McCrudden, James Henry and Owen Morrison will also be added to the squad and it’s a match we certainly want to win,” insisted the Dubliner.
“There’s no point in playing in a semi-final if you are not interesting in winning the game and I’ve no doubt Sligo Rovers will be of the same opinion. I think it will be a competitive game and we’re looking for a performance as we attempt to win the trophy for the 12th time.”
Sligo, of course, are the current holders of the EA Sports Cup and while manager, Paul Cook, may well opt to include a number of his own squad players, it’s anticipated that the men from the Showgrounds are keen to successfully defend the trophy this season.
Interestingly, Derry must travel to the Sligo Showgrounds next Saturday week for what’s expected to be a major fixture in the race for the Premier Division Championship and that game will now be televised ‘live’ on RTE 2 with the kick-off set for 2.45 p.m.
And with that in mind, both clubs will be anxious to learn as much as they came from the opposition at the Brandywell this evening.
Derry City Football Club have reminded supporters that season tickets are NOT valid for tonight’s game with those attending having to pay the usual prices for league and cup fixtures.
Tickets for Under-16s wishing to be seated in the Southend Park Stand can obtain their tickets from the “Hole in the Wall” ticket outlet situated on Brandywell Road with those tickets priced at £5.
Those attending tonight’s game are reminded that a special collection has been organised at all entrances to the Brandywell Stadium in aid of the late Joseph Campbell, who tragically died in Australia last weekend.
Derry City urge all supporters attending the game to give generously as the grief stricken Campbell family wish to repatriate the 24-year-old as soon as possible.