Ruairi to step in for Ruaidhri at Belfield

Ruairi Harkin (Derry city) keeps possession as he is persued by Paul Matonda (Drogheda).  (3009JB81)
Ruairi Harkin (Derry city) keeps possession as he is persued by Paul Matonda (Drogheda). (3009JB81)

DERRY City captain, Kevin Deery, is expected to play part of this Sunday’s friendly fixture against Bonagee United, tonight’s Premier Division game against UCD coming too early for the Creggan man.

The midfield playmaker, who has now returned to first team training, is keen to get back into action following a calf muscle tear and while he wa not expected to be included in the squad for the trip to the Belfield Bowl, his progress has certainly cheered up team boss, Stephen Kenny.

“Kevin is making good progress, he’s been working hard but we’re determined not to rush him back,” said Kenny last night. “He will play maybe one half of Sunday’s friendly fixture against Bonagee which is an important part of his recovery,” he added.

James McClean will also miss the UCD game while Ruaidhri Higgins has also been ruled out having suffered a thigh strain during last weekend’s game against Sligo at the Brandywell.

However, with all three midfielders out Derry are blessed with options in that particularly area and one player will certainly be keen to take advantage.

Indeed, the pre-season performances of Ruairi Harkin have impressed Kenny and the Carnhill man may well get the nod to partner Barry Molloy in the engine room.

“Ruairi has had an exceptional pre-season campaign and while he didn’t get a starting berth last weekend, he has matured as a person and continues to improve as a player,” claimed Kenny.

“He’s very skillful and played no small part in our promotion from the First Division last season. He’s a very good young professional who prepares really well and he certainly comes into the equation for the UCD game.”

Admitting that his charges would face a totally different atmosphere in the Belfield Bowl this weekend, Kenny maintained that the challenge was to bounce back following the late, late Sligo defeat.

“The challenge is to record our first win in Dublin, it’s always difficult but we’ve got to try and get a victory. We need to bounce back from last week but, despite the defeat, there were some good aspects to our overall performance.

“A goal at the death was really hard to take given the effort put in, but we’ve got to get on with it and put that result behind us with a win this weekend,” continued the Dubliner.

“A win would be a tremendous boost for us as we face a team which has already played four competitive games as they were involved in the Setanta Cup competition. They enjoyed a good start to the season in Drogheda, they have quite a few skilful players and they are a well drilled unit,” he concluded.