KENNY SHIELS is hoping star striker, Rory Patterson's injury isn't as bad as first feared as the club await news on the extent of his medial ligament damage sustained during Friday night's big win at Dalymount Park.
Last season's top goalscorer for the Candy Stripes made a significant impact at the start of Friday's opening day 4-1 win over Bohemians when he won a penalty after 14 minutes which Aaron McEneff tucked away clinically to open the scoring.
However, the striker was in obvious pain after that challenge from Bohs keeper, Shane Supple and following a block tackle shortly afterwards he had to be helped off the pitch with just 28 minutes on the clock.
The player will discover early this week the full extent of the damage but he could face up to three months on the sidelines should the club's worst fears be realised.
"We don't know how he is yet it's too early to say," said Shiels. "It's medial ligaments of the knee with the block tackle. He's been so fit and so strong and healthy during pre-season. It's as fit as I've ever seen him. He said that himself, it's as fit as he's ever been. We have to make certain adaptations to how we play if Rory's not playing. We've got the personnel to make those changes."
Patterson's substitution paved the way for Nathan Boyle to enter the fray and he made an instant impact when adding Derry's second on the stroke of half-time.
The striker went on to net his second of the game and his 10th goal for the Candy Stripes early in the second half before having a helping hand in Lukas Schubert's goal to make it 4-1.
"We moved from having a back to goal striker, linking it up - that was our formula from the start and then we had to change our way of playing and had to go in behind with Nathan's strength and pace. I'm delighted for Nathan he deserves the accolades he'll get."
And Shiels believes Boyle can go on to bigger and better things this season if he starts believing in his own capabilities.
"Nathan's a very good player and he has to believe that, When he starts to believe that and we work on certain frailties that he has. He's got so much potential and could be up there in the upper echelons of the league. So if we get him to believe that then he will have a good season."