DERRY City boss, Declan Devine has dismissed talk that his “Candy Stripes” could have blown their chances of winning the Premier Division title, with a dark cloud currently hovering over the Brandywell.
Home defeats by Dundalk and Sligo Rovers in the title race, not to mention the club’s elimination from the EA Sports Cup semi-final - also on home turf last Monday night - Derry’s dip in form has been worrying.
However, while Devine remains gutted with last Monday night’s performance against Drogheda in particular, he refused to lose faith in his playing staff, suggesting that his youngster have not become “bad players overnight.”
Reflecting back on the Drogheda performance, Devine commented: “Mistakes do happen and players will continue to make mistakes, the key is keeping them to a minimum.
“There’s no doubt that everyone’s disappointed with recent results at the Brandywell, but we must concentrate on the positives.
“Of course we’re hurting, but I have no intention of losing faith in this group of players.
“They do not become bad players overnight and given that we haven’t lost that much in the race for the title,
“I refuse to accept that our changes of winning the league have gone,” he insisted.
“We face a tough trip to UCD on Friday night but with St. Pat’s hosting Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk having to travel to Shelbourne, I’m convinced more twists and turns will take place before the end of the campaign,” insisted Devine.
“We must be positive at Belfield and do all in our power to get the win we require and if we can do that, then I firmly believe that we will be back in the mix.”
He again pointed to the quality of his playing staff and the fact that so many were young and inexperienced at this level, yet they continue to learn on a weekly basis.
“No team wants to lose in a semi-final but I now believe that defeat was a blip.
“Against Sligo we could have won the match as quick as we lost it, so I’m not giving up hope.
“We’re still in the two big domestic competitions and we’ve plenty to play for.”
Kevin Deery picked up a knee injury in Limerick, while Stewart Greacen has also injured his knee against Drogheda and both have been ruled out of tonight’s game in Dublin.
Meanwhile, doubts still exist over the fitness of both Barry Molloy (calf) and Ryan McBride (back).
However, Devine is hopeful that both will be declared fit before the kick-off.