David Parkhouse feels good about new look Derry City squad
Striker David Parkhouse intends to be among the leading League of Ireland goalscoring once more this season and is aiming to finish ahead of old friend and former team-mate, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
In his first year with the Candy Stripes in 2019, the 21-year-old netted 19 goals in all competitions with Junior claiming 16. However the Londoner picked up the league’s ‘Golden Boot’, something Parkhouse would love to put right this campaign.
“In the overall scale of things, Junior finished behind me in the scoring charts, apart from the league,” smiles Parkhouse, “Yes, I have targets and anyone who tells you they don’t isn’t telling the truth. I have set myself targets but primarily that’s about proving myself to Decky again and making sure I get into the team.
“If I’m not getting goals I need to make sure I’m still contributing to the team, I’ll be happy enough with that. Obviously as a striker I want to get up the goalscoring charts because ultimately that’s my job.”
After what was a frustrating 2020, the Northern Ireland U21 international wants to make up for lost time and knows this year is a big one for him and his team-mates but he feels the squad which Devine has assembled is very similar to the 2019 edition.
“It’s a big season for us and another big stepping stone for me. It’s another chance to prove myself all over again and do as well as I can for the team,” he added.
“I would 100 per cent take (a repeat of) my first season at Derry this year but I’m here to work hard and look to improve everyday. Everyday is a learning day for me and all I can do is just try my best.
“The first squad that I was involved with here, there’s a similar feeling this year. Yes ,players have come and gone, in fact I was one of them, but I’m back now and Decky has put together a really good squad and I feel really positive about it.”
The former Sheffield United man, who has signed a three year deal with City, concedes that while he can’t wait to get going, playing at a virtually empty Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium is going to be a surreal experience. During the recent friendly against Finn Harps, Derry tried to create their own atmosphere by playing crowd noise through the stadium speakers, something which Parkhouse admitted was strange at first. However, once the game got underway he said was solely focused on the game in hand.
“It was funny because during our first pre-season friendly against Finn Harps we were actually playing crowd noise through the speakers,” explained the striker, “I think near the end they just turned it off but I didn’t notice. That just goes to show that whenever you are playing you don’t really hear what’s going on,” he added.
“Now, in saying that, with the fans in the Brandywell you definitely hear what’s going on but, yeah, it’s a different turn of events for this season. Either way I still expect some fans to be standing outside cheering us on though it is going to be weird at first.
“To be honest, we are lucky because of the type of fans that we have. They are very special and do make themselves heard. It’s something we have to deal with from the start of the season until hopefully we start getting fans back into the Brandywell.
“Regardless of not having supporters in the ground, the main thing for us is they stand by our side through thick and thin and we give them something to cheer about when they do start coming back.”