Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins praises players fitness levels

Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins felt his side did more than enough for a share of the spoils against Sligo Rovers, on Monday night.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 6:28 pm
Ronan Boyce celebrates Derry City's equaliser against Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI
Ronan Boyce celebrates Derry City's equaliser against Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

The Limavady man was delighted that Ronan Boyce s deflected strike late-on cancelled out Jordan Gibson's goal and he was pleased that his players continued to pile forward in the closing stages looking for a winner.

"I felt we deserved all three points, as I thought we dominated the majority of the game," he insisted.

"Although we didn't create that much in the first half, we dominated the ball. The second half we created a lot more and for me we deserved to win the game.

"We have great fitness levels again and that's credit to Kevin McCreadie (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Michael Hegarty (Physio), they play a huge role at this club and I think sometimes that can go unnoticed.

"The players are in really good shape here and they are very professional in how they conduct themselves and I think you can see how strong we finish in games and don't forget we played on Friday night, so to finish with that intensity and running power, is credit to the players as well."

Higgins put down the disappointing first half display by both teams, to the fact that they both played a game on Friday night and while in the closing stages Derry changed to a 4-4-2 formation, Higgins felt that change of system didn't played any part in the late equaliser.

"Listen it was nothing to do with that as I felt the equaliser was coming," he added.

"Because we had the three stoppages and the three changes I was trying to work out how we could go to a 4-4-2 and we went to it and committed more bodies forward.

"I felt because there was still five or six minutes remaining after we equalised we could go on and win it, so we stayed in that system and as I said if there was one team who was going to win it, then it was going to be us.

"I think because Friday/Monday games that happens, people get tired in the latter stages and our fitness levels are really high. I felt we really took control of the game and as I said their goal came against the run of play and I think if the game had gone another three or four minutes, we would have won it."

In the stoppage time Will Patching nearly had the perfect ending to his Derry spell, as his dipping strike had to be tipped over by Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty and Higgins praised the midfielder's contribution as his loan spell comes to an end and he's expected to return to Dundalk.

"I fancied him when it fell to him as he has got that quality and technique," he added. "We have created a few chances down our left hand side just before that and I felt a goal was coming and thankfully it did. He has made a phenomenal contribution and we have all seen it with our own eyes. He has grew week in and week out and he has got better as he has went along.

"He has been amazing and we can't thank him enough and I'm sure a lot of clubs would like to see him playing in their jersey."

During the game Derry suffered two injuries with skipper Eoin Toal and substitute Marc Walsh both having to be replaced because of hip and hamstring problems respectively.

"Eoin has got a bit of a hip injury and he'll get a scan and it has been well-documented that Marc Walsh has had hamstring problems over the last year and it's another hamstring issue," he explained.