KENNY SHIELS is sweating on the fitness of Derry City’s top goalscorer, Rory Patterson, for tonight’s top of the table clash with Cork City at Turner’s Cross (K.O. 7.45 p.m)
The Derry boss - expecting retribution from the ‘Rebels’ for the 1-0 loss at Brandywell back in March and for knocking them out of the EA Sports Cup on their home patch two weeks ago - is braced for a ‘mighty challenge’ tonight.
We must try and keep them in line for the following week as well. So it’s a case of, do we save them for the following week and have them fresh for Cup against Drogheda next Friday night, or do we push them through and maybe risk sustaining further injuries?Kenny Shiels
And that task will be considered a lot more daunting should Patterson miss out while experienced midfield dynamo, Conor McCormack, (calf) is also rated doubtful.
Already without the services of Harry Monaghan (knee) and Gareth McGlynn, who is expected to be sidelined for another four weeks due to a recurrence of his hamstring injury, Derry can ill afford to lose the experience of Patterson and McCormack.
Patterson is struggling with both groin and hip flexor injuries after Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Finn Harps at Brandywell but Shiels will give the striker every chance to make tonight’s match.
The Derry boss said he was uncertain whether he should risk the Strabane man, who has led the line superbly this season, for tonight’s league clash or keep him fresh for next Friday’s FAI Cup match against Drogheda United.
“We’re waiting on Rory Patterson and Conor McCormack to see if they’ll be fit for the game,” confirmed Shiels. “They’re both doubtful at the moment.
“We must try and keep them in line for the following week as well. So it’s a case of, do we save them for the following week and have them fresh for Cup against Drogheda next Friday night, or do we push them through and maybe risk sustaining further injuries? This is the decision we have to make.”
Patterson has been in terrific form for City and scored his seventh of the season to give Derry the lead with two minutes to go against Finn Harps on Tuesday night.