JUST when everything appeared to be kicking neatly into place following the first win of the 2011 season, the injury jinx appears to have struck Derry City yet again.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The “Candy Stripes” new centre-half, Stewart Greacan, who produced a commanding performance during Friday’s 2-0 victory over UCD in Belfield, sustained a broken bone to his hand and is now considered a major doubt for this Friday night’s trip to Drogheda.
Add in the fact that steady Eddie McCallion must sit Friday night’s game out due to a one match suspension carried over from last season, and Brandywell boss, Stephen Kenny, will be forced into two changes in his back four.
Indeed, Greacen couldn’t believe that he had broken his hand during Friday night’s game and it was only following an X-ray in Altnagelvin Hospital on Sunday that the injury was confirmed.
“It could only have happened during the first half of the match when I think I caught my hand awkwardly on a UCD player’s jersey,” he claimed.
“My was a bit sore, but there nothing happening to tell me a bone had been broken. I got through the match without any difficulty and while swelling began to appear on Sunday, I felt I had staved it, nothing more,” added the Scot.
In fact, he arrived for training on Sunday and when he talked to Derry’s physio, Colm O’Neill, he was advised to have the hand X-rayed.
“Couldn’t Believe It!”
“I couldn’t believe it when the doctor told me I had broken my hand. He suggested I could be out of action for between four and six weeks but I’m hopeful that will not be the case,” lamented the 28-year-old.
With his hand in a cast, supported by a sling, Greacen said the club’s medical team were investigating the possiblity of playing with a much lighter cast on his hand.
“At least that would allow me to play and train, but I think this Friday night’s game may come too soon for me. It’s very annoying as I feel I’m getting fitters and sharper but, hopefully, the club will get something organised and I can be back as soon as possible.”
Having enjoyed Friday night’s game despite the horrendous condition of the surface, Greacen felt the team showed an extra string to its bow last weekend.
“Against Sligo Rovers I felt we were very unlucky and given the way we were finishing that match, I felt if anyone was going to nick it, it would have been us. We were unlucky to lose that game, so Friday’s match in Dublin was always going to be a vitally important match for us.
“The pitch was terrible but the young lads showed that while they are clearly capable of playing fluent and attacking football, they can also dig a result out which is what we did against UCD.
“The surface was certainly a great leveller, but we battled well in the second half and I felt it showed two different sides to this team which was great to see,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny was left scratching his head pondering what changes would have to be made for the return to Honky Dory Park in Drogheda.
“I can’t see Stewart making the Drogheda match and with Eddie McCallion suspended, it compounds our difficulties,” he said. “But we’ve just got to get on with it.
“It’s amazing that Eddie picked up a total of four yellow cards last season over 36 games - that’s one in every nine - and he finds himself suspended for the third match of the new season. It’s a bizarre rule and, in my view, certainly not a fair system. In the past players used to start off the new season with clean-sheet. But those are the rules and we have to adhere to them,” added the Dubliner.
Emmet Friars, who has yet to start this season, has a cyst on the back of his knee following a close season operation, will have it drained this week to see if he can slot into the back four, while McCallion’s absence could also present a window of opportunity for other players such as Thomas McBride to make his first start this season.
“Obviously there will be changes in the back four for Drogheda, so we’ll wait and see what develops during the week.
“I can also state that Kevin Deery could be added to the squad having trained with the group today (Monday) and he got through the session
“He was to play in a reserve team friendly match against Bonagee on Sunday but that game was called off, so we’ll keep an eye on him during the week and it’s possible he could be involved in the squad which travels to Drogheda,” confirmed Kenny.
Forde called into Irish squad
Former Brandywell favourites, David Forde, has been called into the Republic of Ireland senior squad for this Saturday night’s Euroepan Championship qualifier against Macedonia and the friendly fixture against Uruguay on Tuesday night, March 29th.
Now contracted at Millwall, the Galway man will be delighted to have gained international recognition with both Shay Given and Paddy Kenny ruled out due to injury.
Forde will compete with Coventry City keeper, Keiren Westood and Motherwell custodian Darren Randolph for the No. 1 jersey but it’s expected Westwood, who has already has five senior caps will get the nod for this Saturday night’s game.