JAMES McClean believes Kenny Shiels is the perfect man to get the best out of his brother Patrick and bring some stability back to Brandywell Stadium.
Since making his big break at Sunderland in 2011, the West Brom and Republic of Ireland winger has always kept a close eye on happenings at his hometown club and has, occasionally, offered his opinions, good or bad, on whatever direction the club has taken.
I think the main thing for Derry is getting a bit of stability. I reckon it’ll be a bit of a transitional year for the club. If they finish mid-table, I think they can look at it as a good season.James McClean
This season, he will be keeping a keener eye on proceedings and particularly the progression of his younger brother who he hopes can fulfil his potential under the new boss.
“Patrick’s got a lot of potential,” said James. “He made the breakthrough into the first team squad last year and managed to get his first start for Derry.
“He’s a big strong boy, left-footed, has many good attributes and is good on the ball. But it’s the young boy problem which held him back last year where he made a few mistakes in terms of his professionalism off the field in training and with picking up injuries.
“But he’s learned from them and this is a big year for him. Hopefully, he’ll make his mark in the team.
“I see him as a centre-back, not a left back, but, whenever he’s given his chance, he has to take it. He will come on leaps and bounds under Kenny Shiels ,I’m sure.
“Kenny is, by all accounts, a good manager who can bring out Patrick’s potential.”
McClean, who is expected to be involved in West Brom’s Premiership clash with Manchester United at the Hawthorns this Sunday, will have an ear to his radio tonight to see how his old club get on against Finn Harps.
And he believes a mid-table finish after last season’s flirtation with relegation can be considered a success for the ‘Candy Stripes’ this year.
“I think the main thing for Derry is getting a bit of stability,” he said. “I reckon it’ll be a bit of a transitional year for the club.
“If they finish mid-table, I think they can look at it as a good season this year. They have a lot of young players and they will get better and better under Kenny Shiels.
“After coming so close to relegation and being involved in that relegation dogfight last season, a midtable or even a bit higher finish in the table would be regarded as a decent season.
“Then, next year, have a good crack at the league and challenge for the European places. I think Derry would be satisfied with that,” he concluded.