Following the criticism levelled at him for fielding a weakened team against Dundalk earlier this month, Peter Hutton gave little away on his likely team selection for Tuesday night’s meeting with Bray Wanderers. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
The Derry boss bore the brunt of heavy criticism for his decision to rest seven players in the 5-0 defeat to Dundalk on September 8th.
That defeat was just four days before the crucial FAI Cup quarter-final with Drogheda United.
And while it’s likely that Hutton will once again make wholesale changes to his starting line-up against the Co. Wicklow men at the Carlisle Grounds, he opted to play his cards close to his chest.
One Eye on Rovers
However, when asked if he planned on resting key players, he admitted he did have ‘one eye’ on next Sunday’s all or nothing FAI Cup semi-final against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.
“We’ll see,” Hutton said with a wry smile. “We will just assess everyone over the weekend and see how they’re fixed come Tuesday.
“Tuesday to Sunday is still a fairly decent break so we’ll see how everyone is after that.
“You could say we will have one eye on Sunday’s game but I still think it’s too long a timespan for some players to do nothing.
“So I can’t really afford to rest them in that space of time.
“Some need to play and some don’t need to play as much. There was one or two of them that picked up an injury.
“Stephen Dooley came off (against Athlone) and Barry Molloy picked up a niggle but time will tell. Hopefully they’re not too bad.”
Hutton claimed he wanted to build momentum going into Sunday’s season defining clash in Tallaght, but Friday night’s draw with lowly Athlone proved a disappointing night at Brandywell.
And with Bray battling for their Premier Division survival, Tuesday’s match is expected to be another tough battle.
However, the Derry manager is keen to catch Sligo Rovers who are now just two points ahead in fifth place, so he’s sees Tuesday’s meeting with Bray as another chance to close that gap.
“It’s another opportunity to catch Sligo,” he said. “We want to finish as high up the table as possible which would be fifth, so that’s still in our plans.
“The Bray game will be very similar to Friday’s game. They’re battling for survival as well and they’ll certainly ask questions of us and it’s important that we’re right mentally.
“You can’t rest on your laurels. Ultimately, the team and the plan for Tuesday will be dictated by the players themselves in terms of injuries.
“There’s two coming back from suspension now too and they’ll be a bit fresher than some of the boys that played on Friday night, but we’ll assess it over Sunday and Monday,” he added.