Declan Devine admits Will Patching's unavailability against parent club Dundalk is a 'major blow'
DECLAN DEVINE admits the absence of star man Will Patching for the visit of Dundalk to Brandywell on Tuesday night represents a 'huge blow' for Derry City.
The Man City Academy graduate, who is on an initial six month loan from the Lilywhites, can't play against his parent club but it's an untimely setback for Devine with Patching growing into his playmaker role at the Brandywell club.
The Englishman was awarded the man of the match award for his performance in the 1-1 draw against Drogheda United on Friday night and his influence on the team, with and without the ball, has been a major positive for Derry City.
Devine, who was at Oriel Park last night watching Dundalk draw with St Pat's, revealed Patching's recent displays in a Derry shirt had even caught the eye of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny who he had a long conversation with at the Co. Louth venue.
The powers that be in Dundalk have also been keeping a watching brief and so there was little expectation of Patching being permitted to play on Tuesday night even if the FAI rules allowed for it.
"It's a huge blow but it's just another setback," lamented Devine. "He was exceptional in the game the other night. He has so much quality in him. He's enjoying his football, looks fresh and looks exciting. I want to get more from him, keep pushing and keep showing people he is the main man.
"We brought him here to have a platform to play and I think he's been instrumental in all our good passages of play in the games so far. Even when I was down in Dundalk last night at the game there were a lot of high ranking people talking about how good he was and he's only going to get better. I sat with Stephen Kenny at the game at Oriel and he was raving about him and how good he was and having watched him the other night he was very impressed with him. That's the type of impact Will has to continue to make and he's doing that in spades at the minute.
"Not only with the ball but without the ball. Hopefully that's a platform for him to push on and kick start and have a really good first half the season."
While his absence is a setback for Devine who is still searching for his first win of the season, he believes it gives an opportunity for others to stake a claim for a starting berth.
"Of course he will be a loss but you can't dwell on that and you have to make sure whoever comes in to play in his position makes the most of the opportunity.
"We've had a couple of setbacks with Joe Hodge which was a big one for us. When you bring in a player from Man City the reality is he's going to have to play games When Joe missed out it was a loss for us. Now it presents an opportunity for other players. Brendan Barr and Jack Malone were excellent for us in the last couple of games. We just keep going and it will be difficult with Patching unable to play but we somebody else will have to come in."
Commenting after Friday night's draw with Drogheda, Patching admitted Derry's poor start had been frustrating but felt the team deserved more from the game.
"It's good to get a point on the board but I think we deserved more from the game," said Patching. "We played well. We moved the ball but we didn't get the three points but it's a start. We've worked on those in training quite a lot so it's great to see one come off.
"It's frustrating but I'm sure the goals will come if we just keep working and we're showing good signs on the pitch. We've just got to keep putting the work in and it'll come off."