WHEN KENNY Shiels leads his Derry City team out at the Oval tonight, he might well reflect on the fact that he could so easily have been standing in the opposition dugout.
The Derry City manager was the front-runner to succeed Eddie Patterson at Glentoran before he chose to take the Brandywell hotseat last November - and he insists he has no regrets.
The Derry City job came up and it was full-time. I have to respect that Glentoran are a fantastic club as well and both jobs appealed to me.Kenny Shiels
Full-time football and the opportunity to manage in the League of Ireland were reasons given for taking the Derry job and he feels his decision was justified as he prepares to lead his troops to the East Belfast venue tonight. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
“I’m enjoying my time as Derry City manager,” he said. “I don’t think it would be fair to say that I would prefer this job over the Glentoran job.
“The Derry City job came up and it was full-time. I have to respect that Glentoran are a fantastic club as well and both jobs appealed to me.
“But I need to be working full-time. I don’t like being idle and full-time is more conducive to how I work.
“It helps me to get the best out of myself and I feel if I can do that it will transmit to the players,
“I’m really pleased with how we’ve been progressing and with the players that are coming through.”
Tonight’s game is Derry City’s second pre-season friendly and Shiels is expecting a tough encounter against a full strength Glens side.
The City team which faced Institute on Tuesday night will be bolstered by the inclusion of Gareth McGlynn, Barry McNamee, Cristian Delgado, Shaun Patton and Dean Jarvis. However, Harry Monaghan (shin) remains sidelined.
“This is a very important period in our season - the pre-season - because if we don’t do things the right way now, then that will form bad habits.
“So, in the game against Glentoran, we’re looking for a pattern of play which will give us more power in our attacking system.
“On Tuesday night, we had three under-18s behind Rory Patterson and it was difficult for them. And, then, we replaced them with two under-16s.
“So, we had three kids all in the one unit which weakened us as an attacking force. I wanted them to get the experience so, if called upon during the season, it wouldn’t be a new experience for them.
“It will be a more experienced team for the Glentoran game. They should be at full strength as they have no game this weekend and there’s a full Irish League programme on.
“It’s not necessarily about getting a result, it’s about getting cohesion now.
“Institute gave it up to us on Tuesday night and that’s exactly what we wanted. We wanted a team to battle and fight because it helps our fitness if a team competes against us.
“We’re not going up to Belfast needing to win, it’s about developing a system of play. The result isn’t relevant. Next week against Coleraine might be different.”