DEVELOPING a hard-working team ethic proved to be the main item on Derry City’s training agenda this week.
And the importance of working even harder, when not in possession of the ball, was not lost on Roddy Collins’ charges in the Vale Centre.
In fact, having conceded two goals against Athlone Town last Friday night, Collins questioned his players on what it took to actually win a game.
“Working when in possession and working even harder when not in possession is what we need at all times,” insisted Collins.
“Developing a team ethic and a team effort is what it takes to not only win a game, but to win a league title,” he maintained.
“Our performance was inconsistent against Athlone. We looked good when on the ball, but we had a number of players who refused to work when we were not in possession and that didn’t help us.
“When not in control of the ball, we must replicate the performance we produced against Shamrock Rovers, but when on the ball we must do what we did against Athlone.
“And players who cannot marry those disciplines will, reluctantly, have to leave us in July,” declared the Derry boss.
“I came here to win a league title and to win it as quickly as possible. To do that I must convert the players into league winning players as quickly as possible and that’s what team-work is all about.
“Dundalk and Cork are top of the league table at the moment, but they do not have the best players in the league - they are there due to team work having developed a team ethic.
“St. Pat’s, Shamrock Rovers and Sligo have better players than Dundalk and Cork in my view, but they do not boast the same work ethic.”
Looking forward to Friday night’s trip to the Carlisle Grounds, Collins agreed it had always been a tricky venue.
“They are set-up not to lose matches. They will lump the ball in on top of us and, to be fair, it works for them and having defeated Drogheda 0-2 at United Park confirms that,” he noted.
“Bray will be difficult to break down but I believe we have the players with the necessary talent to do just that and, hopefully, we will return with a favourable result before preparing for the visit of Limerick to the Brandywell on Monday afternoon.”
Barry Molloy, Ryan McBride and Barry McNamee will all miss the game, Molloy struggling with an injury he has carried over from last season.
“It’s a hamstring problem which really should have been dealt with last year, bu the continued to play. If we opted to risk him, Barry could be out for a month and we can’t take that chance, so he will not be involved in either game this weekend,” he concluded.