BRANDYWELL boss, Declan Devine, has banned any talk of the Sligo Rovers match on Bank Holiday Monday, opting to channel his side’s total focus on this Friday night’s home fixture against Limerick.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Devine, who was present at last night’s FAI Cup draw in RTE’s Donnybrook Studios, insisted that the league match against Limerick - very much an unknown quantity - was the priority and he did not want any “side attractions.”
“Obviously we face a very busy weekend with two games over the space of four days, but the priority is our home fixture against Limerick on Friday. We can talk about the Sligo Rovers game afterwards,” he maintained.
“They have been blowing hot and cold since they secured promotion to the Premier Division, but they’ve managed to record excellent results against the top clubs.
“I watched them against Bray Wanderers when the produced a very professional attacking display and, in truth, they really should have added more goals to that win.
“They have quality in their ranks and with former Cork City midfielder, Joe Gamble, running the show in the centre of the park, they are a decent side.”
Having extended his unbeaten league run to nine matches following last Friday night’s 1-1 result against St. Pat’s at Inchicore, Devine praised the club’s home support.
“I was very impressed with the support which travelled to Richmond Park last weekend. There must have been over 200 Derry fans at the match and that really did lift the players,” he declared.
“Against Shamrock Rovers we had a magnificent attendance in the Brandywell the previous week and I sincerely hope that support will return for our home game against Limerick.
“For young players it can be very easy to get side-tracked with a game against Sligo the following Monday, but no one will be talking about that until the Limerick match is over.
“It’s yet another big game for us and, hopefully, we will attract a significant attendance which will help us focus on the job at hand. The crowd we had at the Rovers match certainly played their part and pulled us through in the end, so I think it’s important that our supporters recognise that.
“Against St. Pat’s our support could be heard from the first whistle to the last and, thanks to all those who travelled to Dublin, the players responded and dug-in.”
On the injury front, Sean Houston has returned to fitness and the Letterkenny man got a run-out against St. Pat’s when entering the fray as a second half substitute, while Stewart Greacen has also returned to training this week having gone under the knife to repair a cartilage tear.
“Thankfully, we’ve got a few bodies returning to action and that means competition for places which I certainly welcome,” continued Devine.
“Thomas Crawley felt his groin against St. Pat’s, so we took our chances and replaced him immediately with Dermot McCaffrey who did really well. Sean Houston got a run-out and had no problems after his hamstring tear and while the Limerick match may come a bit too soon for Stewart Greacen, I expect him to be available over the next few weeks.
“Kevin Deery and Paddy Kavanagh are also making progress in their rehabilitation and, hopefully, we could have that pairing back within another two to three weeks which would be great,” concluded Devine.