DECLAN Devine is confident that his “Candy Stripes” will respond positively against Bluebell United in tonight’s FAI Cup third round replay at the Brandywell. (7.45 p.m.)
And having dissected the disappointing display against the Leinster Senior League side in last Friday night’s scoreless result, the Brandywell boss expects a major improvement this evening.
However, not for the first time this season, Devine will be forced into making further changes in defence as centre-back, Shane McEleney, is considered a major doubt having tweaked his calf during last weekend’s game.
And with Stewart Greacen’s knee injury turning out to be worse than what had been expected, the Scot is now expected to go back under the surgeon’s knife, Devine again forced to deploy Barry Molloy at centre-back.
With both Greacen and McEleney struggling, Ryan McBride is expected to return to centre-back despite the fact that he is carrying a groin strain.
Sean Houston and Thomas Crawley are both out with hamstring problems while Kevin Deery also remains in the treatment room with a recurring knee problem.
On the plus side, Patrick McEleney is expected to return to the Derry City midfield area having recovered from a groin strain to cover Houston’s absence.
And Dean Jarvis is also in line to start the game having made a good impression on Friday night when entering the fray as a half-time substitute.
“Obviously, we’ve discussed Friday night’s game at length, reflecting back on our overall performance which was very disappointing and we hope to improve on that.
“Complacency had crept into our play and our work-rate was not up to scratch, so I do expect a major change in our attitude,” he added.
However, he took nothing away from Bluebell United, insisting that his “Candy Stripes” had to match the work-rate and tenacity of the Dublin side.
“We’re still in the FAI Cup, a competition we took so much pleasure in winning last year. But we could have lost out on Friday night, but we didn’t, and it’s important now that the players realise that, refocus and attempt to play to the standard they are capable of,” concluded Devine.
Tonight’s game must be played to a finish with extra-time and penalties coming into play, should they be required.
Local Radio Coverage of Game
BBC Radio Foyle will have full match coverage from tonight’s FAI Cup replay at Brandywell Stadium.
Richie Kelly presents the programme with commentary from Eric White and former Derry City striker Liam Coyle.
Drive105 will be also be staging a special FAI Cup broadcast from the earlier time of 7.00 p.m. with a live discussion on all things Derry City until 7.30 p.m. followed by match commentary and a live phone-in after the final whistle.