BOLSTERED by a new sponsorship deal for the next three seasons, Derry City face Dundalk under the RTE cameras tonight, team boss, Stephen Kenny, anxious to make an impact. (Kick-off: 7.35 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And a victory would elevate the “Candy Stripes” into second spot in the Premier Division table after what has been a hesitant, yet positive start, to the return to Premier Division football.
However, Kenny is much too long in the tooth to take anything for granted against Ian Foster’s “Lilywhites” having watched them overpower Cliftonville in the Setanta Cup during the week.
Indeed, he will have particularly noticed the performances of Dundalk’s ‘front four,’ experienced and talented players who all have an eye for goal.
Former Bohemians striker, Jason Byrne is partnered by ex-St. Pat’s hitman, Mark Quigley while wingers Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor have provided an endless supply of support from the flanks.
Kenny, however, points to the quality of his own side while refusing to dismiss the threat Dundalk pose, he was confident that his “Candy Stripes” would rise to the challenge and, hopefully, record their opening league victory on home soil.
“Dundalk have opened the season well and they deserve credit for that,” noted the Derry boss. “But we also have players who will trouble any defence in the league and the youngsters included in our squad have improved and will continue to improve in every match they play,” he insisted.
“Given the way both teams are set out, I would expect quite an open game and players such as James McClean, Daniel Lafferty, Shane and Patrick McEleney, David McDaid and Stephen McLaughlin will all rise to the challenge.”
He agreed that a win would end what has been a particularly positive week for the Brandywell club given the unveiling of a new main sponsor in Diamond Corrugated plus support sponsors GMK and City Cabs.
“These local companies are moving forward and we, as a club, certainly want to be part of that. Following our defeat of Bray last Friday night and the announcement on Tuesday has made everyone sit up and take notice. It’s been a good week, but we’d really like to cap that with a victory over Dundalk,” he added.
“We’ll certainly be having a go at them, it will be competitive - I’ve no doubt about that - but it should be a good occasion and I think there will be another good atmosphere inside the Brandywell.”