Derry City have injury concern for UCD game

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins is sweating over the availability of midfielder Will Patching whose niggling ankle injury may force him to miss tonight’s league encounter with UCD (7.45pm).

Derry City's Will Patching walks off with physio Katy Holly, after aggravating an ankle injury against Cork City last Friday night.
Derry City's Will Patching walks off with physio Katy Holly, after aggravating an ankle injury against Cork City last Friday night.

Patching, who has scored 10 goals this season, nine in the league and one in the Extra.ie FAI Cup, has made himself an integral part of the Candystripes’ attack.

However Higgins insists that if Patching isn’t ready to face the Students, then he won’t be risked. Another doubt is midfielder Declan Glass but Jamie McGonigle should be available after the pair missed Monday night’s win at Shelbourne.

Glass has a slight hamstring problem while the Dungiven man should be back after recovering from illness.

As for Patching, the 23-year-old limped off in last week’s FAI Cup win over Cork City and didn’t come off the bench at Shels. The Brandywell men do have other options, as illustrated in the late, late win at Tolka Park.

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Against Damien Duff’s side in the second half, Higgins brought on Ronan Boyce and Michael Duffy and changed formation by moving Cameron Dummigan into midfield from right-back and pushing Patrick McEleney higher up the pitch. It eventually paid dividends and the Derry boss is delighted his rebuilt squad is starting to offer him more options.

“Declan Glass has a minor hamstring issue and he’ll more than likely miss out. Jamie should be okay but we’ll check on him and Will we’re not too sure about yet. He has an ankle injury so if he’s not right then we won’t be taking any chances,” explained Higgins.

“It’s crucial that we have options. While it would be great to be able to pick from everybody, having different options is good for us.

“Cian Kavanagh came on at Shelbourne and gave us a different dimension up front. Watching the game back it showed he was excellent for is in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch.

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“We do now have different types of players in positions and we’re happy with the group but we need to keep winning games. We need to keep this bit of momentum going that we have at the minute and try to pick up another three points on Friday night.”

The Brandywell men sit a massive 33 points above the bottom of the table ‘Students’ but Higgins isn’t taking anything for granted and wants his players to make sure they have the right mindset this evening.

Higgins is also wary of Andy Myler’s talented young squad, particularly Tom Lonergan and Dylan Duffy, who have both been amongst the goals in recent weeks. Indeed Higgins feels the battle at the bottom involving Finn Harps and UCD means Derry will need to be ready right from the first whistle, something he’s confident they can be.

“Knowing the group of players that we have here, they will be ready,” he insisted.

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“UCD have only lost once in their last five games and they have without a doubt improved so it’s a dangerous fixture for us if we don’t treat it right.

“Both Harps and UCD are picking up points and it’s interesting at that end of the table, but UCD have some very good young players.

“You look at Lonergan, he’s a young centre-forward who’s scoring goals for UCD, Dylan Duffy is also scoring but, listen, they always produce players, I think we know that at this stage.

“They have always produced some of the best young players in the country and I think they currently have a couple there who have big futures in the game as well so they’ll punish us if we’re not at it.”

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