Derry City can become real exciting force now walking wounded return to frontline

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
RUAIDHRÍ Higgins reckons Derry City is on the verge of becoming a 'real exciting force' as the Brandywell boss welcomed back some key players from long term injury on Friday night.

Michael Duffy has been missing from action for the past two weeks but made all the difference as a second half substitute when netting the winning goal - his third of the season - against Bohemians on Foyleside to send Higgins' troops to within a single point of leaders Shelbourne.

Skipper Patrick McEleney and Sadou Diallo also made their return to action after long lay-offs last week to bolster Higgins' options and the City boss is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"From the last half hour and what we were able to spring from the bench it got us over the line. We were obviously on the end of a late equaliser the other night [against Shelbourne] which absolutely knocks you for six but then you come here tonight and get a late winner," he said. "And I felt with what we could introduce from the substitute bench here tonight that it would give us a real chance to win the game and it proved that way.

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí HigginsDerry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins
Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins

"I've always said it, we have matchwinners here. We have real talented players here. But I think we're going to be a real exciting force whenever we get the majority of our squad fit and available as we had tonight.

"The freshness and the quality [from the bench]. We had real control at that point which helped and you could see there was a real fluidity about it in the last 20 minutes or so and we kind of played in the style that we want to play.

"We were able to introduce real quality. Shane [McEleney] comes on at half-time and does well. Sam Todd comes on and helps us see the game out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I'm really proud of the players for what they've put in this week. Two really difficult fixtures, Shels and Bohs at home. We've taken four points. We should have six but it's not a bad return and we'll keep cracking on.”

Will Patching tries to get past his man in the 1-0 win over Bohemians at Brandywell.Will Patching tries to get past his man in the 1-0 win over Bohemians at Brandywell.
Will Patching tries to get past his man in the 1-0 win over Bohemians at Brandywell.

The timing of the return to fitness of key players could be pivotal ahead of a Dublin double header against St Patrick's Athletic and Shamrock Rovers.

"I think the timing is great," agreed Higgins. "Getting a late winner is always really good for the group and for morale. I know football is fotoball and opinions are opinions and you get questioned at times and criticised at times and that's fine and that's part and parcel but one thing I could never criticise these players for is character.

"That gets questioned sometimes for whatever reason. We came out after conceding a late one the other night and we've got a late one. Our players have fantastic character and we're going to need that to win matches. We've had a habit over the last few years of winning games late. Danny Mullen has got one here against Pat's and that one. So late goals here have got us two big wins and vital points."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Candystripes are unbeaten in their last five matches. Considering they were eight points behind the leaders at one stage this season, they find themselves in a healthy, competitive position in the middle of May.

"We were eight points behind a month ago, we're now a point behind. I didn't get too excited when we were eight points behind and I'm not getting too excited now and neither is the group. We just focus on the next game and try to pick up points.

"We've three wins and two draws from our last five. Which is decent form. When we were eight points behind I didn't get too excited and I’m certainly not getting too excited now. We'll get back in on Sunday morning and start concentrating on St Pats.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.