Central defensive role for “Baz” as Bluebell seek Athlone repeat

�INPHO/Donall Farmer
�INPHO/Donall Farmer
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EXPECT positional switches and changes in personnel when Derry City host Leinster Senior League side, Bluebell United, in tonight’s FAI Cup third round fixture at Brandywell. (7.45 p.m.)

And one significant switch will see midfield general, Barry Molloy, return to a central defensive role due to the fact that both Stewart Greacen and Ryan McBride have been ruled out through injury.

Kevin Deery remains in the treatment room while doubts continue to hover over the fitness of both Patrick McEleney and Michael Duffy who are carrying ankle injuries.

Therefore, Barry McNamee and Sean Houston are expected to return to active service in the midfield area with David McDaid also expected to return to partner the league’s top hitman, Rory Patterson, in the final third.

“We have a number of young players anxious to express themselves, while others are attempting to return after dips in form or, indeed, injuries, so while we will be short a few bodies, others will be brought in,” confirmed Brandywell boss, Declan Devine.

“Ryan McBride tweaked his groin in training and while the player would prefer to play, we can’t afford to take any risks with him given that Greacen is definitely out,” he said.

“Barry Molloy, therefore, will drop back from his midfield role a do a job he has already done this season.

“I would also hold my hand up and take responsibility of Barry McNamee’s dip in form as that’s down to me having to play his at left-back due to our recent problems with that position.

“But in the senior game, needs must when injuries come into play, so Barry will return to midfield area with Sean Houston also competing for a starting place against Bluebell,” he added.

Devine also confirmed that David McDaid had returned to the squad and trained this week.

“We had a disciplinary issue which is now sorted between the player and myself. David has trained well all week and he will also be included the squad as he was certainly missed against Drogheda.”

And having had tonight’s Leinster Senior League opponents watched on a few occasions, the Brandywell boss refuses to take anything for granted.

“Bluebell will gain the same respect which would be extended to one of the top teams in the Premier Division. It’s a big match for us given that should we win, then we would be two matches aware from another visit to the Aviva Stadium to defend our FAI Cup trophy and that has to be the motivation.

“Boasting players such as Mark Rooney, Tony Griffiths and Trevor Molloy, they can be a dangerous opponent and I think their performances in Athlone have proved that to be the case,” he concluded.