DERRY City can expect a determined response at Terryland Park tonight as Galway United boss, Sean Connor publicly berated the perofrmance of his players last week. (Kick-off: 7.45 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Indeed, following what was a disappointing performance against fellow strugglers, Drogheda United at Hunky Dory Park on Friday night - the match ending 2-2 - the Belfast man exploded when interviewed by the Press afterwards.
“Our first half performance was abysmal, it was the worst I have ever experienced as a manager,” he said.
“All we did in the second half was save a bit of face because that level of performance was totally unacceptable,” added Connor.
“We didn’t impose ourselves on the game; we looked frightened, nervous and edgy in our football and if we keep doing that, we are going to be in big, big trouble.
“We had the chance to get onto seven points and go level with three teams above us in the league table, but we have blown that.
“These players have until July to get their fingers out or else I will be bringing in new players to replace them,” he blasted.
In fact, he also suggested that he was being forced to ‘take a risk’ with his younger players as the only positive from the Drogheda match was that Galway didn’t lose.
“We have too many players who are superior to their players, yet that wasn’t evident on the pitch.”
Tonight’s game against the “Candy Stripes,” therefore, is crucial and Connor is clearly using the media in an effort to get a positive response from his playing staff.
Derry, however, will take little notice of what’s going on in the West and focus their attentions on building on last weekend’s superb 2-0 victory over Dundalk at the Brandywell.
“We’ve been playing well in recent weeks and our away form has also been decent, but we can’t afford to take anything for granted at Terryland Park,” insisted the Brandywell club’s assistant manager, Declan Devine.
“Last time we played down there we lost 3-1 and given that they have experienced players such as Sean Maher and former Derry personnel, Brian Cash and Alan Murphy in their panel, it will not be easy.
“We have no interest in discussing any problems in Galway, our priority is concentrate on ourselves as we strive to produce another positive performance result and keep our good form going.
“We’ll concentrate totally on ourselves and attempt to take another three points on the road,” he added.
Looking back on last week’s impressive 2-0 win at the Brandywell, Devine was delighted with the display but he maintained that there was more to come from his side.
“Our performance against Dundalk was good, we played well all over the park and I think we’ve shown how good we can be.
“But we must continue to improve on our performances and we believe our players are capable of doing just that.”
Molloy Still Out.
As was the case last week, midfield general, Barry Molloy, misses out with ankle ligament damage while another central midfield player, Ruairi Harkin, has a knee problem and is considered a doubtful starter.
“The team will be somewhere along the lines of last week. We have a few minor injury concerns, but I expect the vast majority of those players who were selected against Dundalk to be available for selection on Friday night.”
Monthly Draw Winners
Meanwhile, William Duffy (jnr.),, from Burnside Manor, Derry, emerged the winner of the Derry City Monthly Draw for March. William’s ticket, No. 559, earned him a cheque for £1,000.
The runner-up and a prize of £500 goes to ticket No. 641, which is held by Brian McQuaid from Thornhill Park, Derry.