THE absence of captain, Cliff Byrne, for tonight’s visit of Drogheda United due to a one match ban, will demand a reshuffle in the Derry City defence.
And it could bring together what would have appeared an unlikely pairing a few weeks ago.
Shane McEleney, sensationally sidelined by former boss, Roddy Collins, could be lining-out alongside the ex-manager’s son.
Add in the fact that young Collins had been ‘benched’ against Cork last week with McEleney making a surprise return to the Derry back four.
And new boss, Peter Hutton, had “absolutely no problem” selecting both players for action this evening given the absence of the influential Byrne.
“I’ve no problems whatsoever with young Roddy Collins,” insisted Hutton, who probably felt that the full-back was not in a good place following the departure of his father before the Cork game.
“He has acted professionally and he has continued to go about his business well. He’s a good pro, always on time, always courteous, he does his work to the best of his ability and I can’t fault him at all,” claimed Hutton.
So, could the defender be recalled for tonight’s game?
“Roddy has been added to the panel and, yes, he could well find himself back in the team. He has shown me that’s where he wants to be and as we’re down a few players, we will need a bit of a reshuffle and, therefore, Roddy is obviously an option,” answered Hutton.
In fact the Derry boss also went out of his way to discourage any talk of problems between Collins and McEleney.
“Thankfully, we don’t have any problems on that front. In fact, I couldn’t help but notice that Roddy and Shane had their pre-match meal together in Cork. They appeared to be laughing and joking with each other, so there is no animosity between them and that’s exactly what I want to see right through our squad.
“I actually think that some people are looking for something that is not there. Both players are professional and they are getting on with their jobs of representing Derry City when called upon.”
Another addition to tonight’s squad is expected to be Rory Patterson, the Strabane man having completed a two match suspension following his sending off against Bohemians.
“Rory will return to the squad and, as a striker, he wants to get back among the goals. He can give us that vital cutting edge and while he has not been as as prolific as last season, it’s also fair to state that he hasn’t been given too many opportunties to impress either,” concluded Hutton.