Ciaran Coll's injury fears allayed as Derry City boss hails return of Will Patching for Sligo Rovers visit
RUAIDHRI Higgins hailed the timely return to fitness of midfield maestro Will Patching as a ‘massive boost’ for Derry City ahead of Tuesday's visit of Sligo Rovers to Brandywell.
With the Englishman back in contention for a starting berth following his recovery from an ankle injury, Higgins is wetting his lips at the attacking options at his disposal as City battle on two fronts going into the business end of the season.
Ciaran Coll is recovering well after his injury sustained against Bohs which isn’t as bad as first feared.
“It was a bad fall and it looked a nasty enough one at the time. He’s a bit sore and stiff but thankfully he’s okay,” confirmed the Derry boss.
And Higgins now finds himself with a welcome selection headache as his squad nears full strength.
“We’re going to need our full squad from now until the end of the season and it gives me plenty to think about having a near fully fit squad to pick from. It can be difficult for players who find themselves out of the team. The likes of Joe Thomson has trained unbelievably well for the past few weeks and that’s what we need, we need players pushing each other if we’re going to be successful.”
Patching, who has scored 16 goals in 45 appearances under Higgins, has been instrumental for Derry this season and as he returns to join attackers Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney, Ryan Graydon, James Akintunde and Jamie McGonigle, it’s a mouthwatering prospect for City fans.
The ex-Man City Academy youth made his return as a 77th minute substitute for Sadou Diallo in the 1-0 win over Bohemians on Friday and Higgins is delighted to have him available again.
Describing the playmaker as ‘an unbelievable talent’, Higgins hopes Patching can produce more ‘moments of brilliance’ to help Derry finish the season strongly.
“Will has been used to playing every week and not missing a training session,” explained the City boss. “It’s the first time he’s had a niggly injury so it’s been frustrating for him. He’s not used to it but he’s getting closer to being fully fit and we’re delighted to welcome him back.
“Over the last 18 months or so we’ve seen the quality he has. He’s an unbelievable talent and can go on and be whatever he wants to be when he fulfills his potential, which he’s well on his way to doing. He’s capable of moments of brilliance and we look forward to seeing that between now and the end of the season.
“Alongside our other attacking options, it’s means an end of season we’re looking forward to.
“Ciaron Harkin is the only one but we’re really close to a fully fit squad which is what we’ve been looking for. We haven’t really had the squad we have now all season. It’s inevitable that we will pick up other bits and pieces but at the minute we look in a good place and hopefully that can stay that way until the end of the season.”