CHANGES may well be expected, both in terms of personnel and team-shape for this Sunday’s Cork City match, but a unit that may not be tinkered with could prove to be the Derry City defence.
Despite conceding that late, late equaliser in Tallaght Stadium last Sunday, Brandywell boss, Roddy Collins is expected to remain loyal to his “back five” this weekend.
“To be fair the entire panel played really well, but we did look pretty strong in defence and it came as no surprise that Ryan McBride was named the man of the match,” noted Collins.
“That said, there were a few players who could have won it, but Ryan did play really well and I’m sure he will have accepted the reward on behalf of his team-mates.”
In the midfield area it’s hard to dislodge the new central partnership of Barry Molloy and Danny Ventre, but with Derry now expected to open up a Cork City defensive policy, other players may come into contention for places.
Indeed, the McEleney brothers, Shane and Patrick, plus the now fit Barry Molloy and Jon-Paul McGovern, are all considered ball players and their ability to play that vital incisive pass could prove crucial this weekend.
In addition, Collins is not expected to deploy a lone striker to lead his attack as was the case last weekend, therefore, top marksman, Rory Patterson, is expected to be named on the starting line-up with Ryan Curran, Enda Curran and Mark Stewart all competing for a front-line spot.
Not prepared to give too much away, Collins pulled out a mind-boggling answer: “The graft of the Pitbull must be established and then blended with the style of the Poodle!” he said.
“When we are not in possession of the ball I need 10 Pitbulls on the pitch, but when in possession we must turn that quickly into the style of 10 poodles. Getting that right is the key.
“We’ve been working hard on the training pitch.
“The players know what’s required of them in terms of effort and the levels set against Rovers must not be allowed to drop.”
When questioned on what he expected from a newlook Cork City side - which will include former Derry wingers, Liam Kearney and Billy Dennehy, Collins felt the ‘Leesiders’ would be happy with a share of the spoils.
“I expect them to deploy a defensive formation. They will probably flood the midfield area and operate with one striker.
“They held St. Pat’s last week having led the match, but they will tighten up this weekend and I believe it will be a battle from the first whistle - it always is against Cork City,” he maintained.
“So we must be ready to deal with that.
“We’ll take time to settle and see what develops. I think we’ll find out very quickly what Cork’s aspirations will be.”
On the team front, Cork must plan without their regular left-back, Donegal native, Johnny Dunleavy, who was sent off against St. Pat’s last week, so youngster, John Kavanagh or the experienced, Neil Horgan, will compete for the vacant spot.
However, ex-Derry striker, Michael Rafter and Danny Morrissey are both ruled out due to injury and they are not expected to travel.
“We have players who can change it if we need to which is important but as we are at home, we will attempt to control the game and it’s a match we hope to win.
“We’re well prepared for the challenge that Cork will present us with and we’re confident in our ability but we’ve got to do the business on the pitch,” he concluded.