The notable absence of Derry City’s assistant boss, Peter Hutton, in the Brandywell dugout, raised quite a few eyebrows during
Friday night’s home defeat by Shamrock Rovers. Prep-match tweets on social media, which appeared to be emanating from the Brandywell club, suggested that Derry’s longest serving player had experienced a fall-out with team boss, Roddy Collins and had been banished to Inchicore to report on another match!
And while Hutton did see St. Patrick’s Athletic defeat Cork City 3-2 at Richmond Park on Friday night, Collins instantly denied any fall-out, insisting that his No. 2 was sent to watch and report on two teams Derry would be facing over the next few weekends.
“I’m not going to get involved in answering discussions on social media,” declared Collins when questioned on the whereabouts of his No. 2.
“Peter was sent to report on both Cork City, who we play this Friday night and St. Pat’s, who we also meet in the near future.
“Checking out the form and performances of opposing teams happens every week at football clubs, so I really don’t know what people are getting on their high horses about.
“I need people I can trust to do reliable reports on our opposition,” insisted Collins.
Meanwhile, reflecting on his third league defeat of the season, his second on home turf, the Derry boss was adamant that his side’s first half performance, had been the best of the season so far.
“I seem to be damned if I do and damned if I don’t,” he said.
“We were facing an experienced Shamrock Rovers team and we had to plan minus the services of a number key players, yet the young lads who came in didn’t disappoint me,” maintained the Dubliner.
“As far as I’m concerned, that first half performance was the best we have played this season in the Brandywell.
“Yes, we were short of that vital cutting edge in the final third but we’ve been trying to play in such a way that scoring chances will always be created through our passing and movement. Such a situation would be perfect for our strikers and attacking players but, unfortunately,
we had to plan without both Rory Patterson (suspended) and Patrick McEleney (knee injury).
“So I’m not going to complain about the performance of the young lads brought in.
“Of course, I’m absolutely disappointed and frustrated at the end result as I felt our play, particularly, in the first half deserved a goal and we certainly created the chances to score but failed to take advantage,” he lamented.
The Derry boss pointed to the limited amount of clear-cut chances created by the opposition, claiming that the inexperienced players brought in had not been over-run on the night.
“They had three shots on target and scored with one of them. People will talk about penalty claims and other things that go on in matches, but when the referee refuses to make those decisions, they don’t matter.
“We fielded quite a few young players who earned the right to play having really impressed me in Sligo last Monday night and I’m not making any apologies to anyone for having selected them.
“Young players such as Tony McNamee, Cormac Burke and Nathan Boyle were presented with league starts following their performances against Sligo and while it was always going to be difficult for them, I have no problems in making such decisions.
“Obviously I’m not happy at all with the result, but I really do question the attitudes of some who, after watching young local players perform for their home town club, start to boo them off the pitch after the final whistle, it’s absolutely mad,” concluded Collins.