Derry City’s Barry McNamee wants to improve on last season’s form and is aiming to win a medal during the 2017 campaign.
The midfielder believes after finishing third in the Premier Division and losing in both the EA Sports Cup and FAI Cup semi-finals to Limerick and Dundalk respectively, he and his team-mates are hungry for success this time around.
“Everybody wants to up their challenging but, as they say, first is first, second is nothing as the old cliché goes,” he said.
“Since I have come into the squad the minimum expectation has been to qualify for Europe and getting to a cup final, either the League Cup or FAI Cup.
“We qualified for Europe and probably should have got to one of the cup finals last year. We were a bit unlucky in both competitions, but we have to improve; so we must look after ourselves.
“Two years ago we were nearly relegated and then last year, especially getting beat in the first game, people were worrying again, but yes obviously it took us a bit of time to settle down and get used to Kenny (Shiels) and for him to get used to what type of players he had.
In the two cup competitions we were in both semi-finals so we were a bit disappointed. We have to try and better that this year.Barry McNamee
“He has obviously gone out and strengthened this year and brought in players he feels will improve the team so the aim has to be even though it’s going to be tough, trying to better last year’s effort, which was good but we were disappointed not to win any trophies.
“In the two cup competitions we were in both semi-finals so we were a bit disappointed. We have to try and better that this year.”
The 25-year-old knows how important tonight’s opener at Dalymount Park is and he definitely wants to improve on last year’s terrible opening day defeat at neighbours Finn Harps.
The Ramelton man, who scored seven goals and had 13 assists in his 38 games last season, was bitterly disappointed after that opening day setback, especially as his brother Tony was playing in the Harps side which secured the 2-1 win in Ballybofey.
“If you get off to a bad start you are out of challenging for the title right away, so we must try to win the first few games and accumulate as many points as we can. Then in the middle of the season, you re-evaluate things and that’s where you really focus on targets,” he added.
“It has been a long off season. We started in late November; all the local lads were doing their own stuff and everyone else had their programmes throughout the break, so we are back fighting fit and ready to go.
“We had good success against Bohemians last year, but obviously they have strengthened this year - like most of the teams in the league - so obviously it’s going to be a tough game.
“As I said, we had a disappointing first game last year so we have to learn from that and be ready for the first game this year.
“We were disappointed with the bad start last year but we reacted well, so we just have to hit the ground running this time around.
“Obviously it’s not an easy game, you would much prefer to have a home game first up, but we know what to expect from Bohemians and no matter how tough it’s going to be, we have to be ready for it.”