Declan Devine not fooled by Dundalk management crisis

DECLAN DEVINE dismissed suggestions Dundalk’s managerial upheaval will have a negative impact on the Lilywhites’ performance against Derry City tonight.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:20 pm
Declan Devine is hoping his team can secure a first win of the season against fellow strugglers Dundalk.

The City boss claims the Co. Louth outfit boasts the ‘biggest and best squad in the country’ and he expects his side to face a stern test regardless of who occupies the dugout.

Dundalk arrive on Foyleside without a manager or head coach after Filippo Giovagnoli followed Shane Keegan out of Oriel Park on Sunday morning with the club languishing second from bottom in the league table.

Former Sligo Rovers boss, Gerard Lyttle, and Linfield manager, David Healy, are understood to be in the frame to take over the managerial reigns, but Devine doesn’t believe the apparent disarray behind the scenes will hand his Derry side an advantage when the teams meet tonight.

The City boss was in the stands to watch Dundalk come from behind to secure a point against St Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday and he believes his good friend, Dundalk’s Director of Football, Jim Magilton is the perfect man to navigate the club through choppy waters.

Magilton is expected to take charge of team affairs in the interim and will be accompanied in the dugout by Academy Director Stephen McDonnell at Brandywell.

“I’m very close with Jim (Magilton) and he will do an amazing job down there in Dundalk,” predicted Devine who worked with Magilton at the IFA.

“I don’t think Jim has gone down there to manage, I genuinely don’t,” he added. “I think he’s gone down there to run a business and a club.

“Magilton will get things right down there in Dundalk there’s no doubt about it. He’s one of the most passionate, hard-working football men I’ve ever worked with and I wish him all the best. I hope it goes really well for him and I’ve no doubt it will but on Tuesday night it’s all about us.”

The build-up to tonight’s crunch clash has been shrouded in controversy but Devine is expecting a tough test against some of the best players in Ireland.

“I don’t know what goes on in Dundalk, I’m not privy to that,” he stated. “We all hear the same stuff but the bottom line at any football club is how good your footballers are. You can have a poor manager and still win football matches.

“In my opinion, the bottom line is how good your players are. When I look at what they had in their starting XI on Saturday, what they had on their bench and what they actually had in the stand, you know what? They’re some side!

“You don’t do what they did last year and qualify for Europe and get through to the group stages if you don’t have really talented players. To be fair to Dundalk, I’d be the first to hold my hand up and say, for me, they have the biggest and best squad in the country.

“I’m sure they will have a go at us. So let the best team win,” he smiled.