The expectation levels on Conor McDermott this campaign is going to go up a few levels, but the laid back man isn’t worried.
McDermott burst onto the scene at right-back and helped Kenny Shiels’ side to secure an impressive third place last year.
Since that debut against Shamrock Rovers last April, it has been somewhat of a whirlwind 11 months which also saw him play for Northern Ireland U21’s against a French side which featured the likes of Celtic striker Moussa Dembélé, Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé and PSG duo Jean-Kévin Augustin and Adrien Rabiot.
Nevertheless McDermott isn’t getting ahead of himself but he knows that other clubs will know all about him this campaign.
“We have to build on last year and try to improve; we did really well last year by getting into Europe but hopefully we can push on even further this year and challenge for the league,” he said.
“Personally I have to step it up again this year, hopefully I can stay in the team and help us get off to a good start.
Once you play against someone, you kind of get to know their game and read what they are doing, but Daryl (Horgan) is obviously a top player, so he wasn’t easy to mark.Conor McDermott
“I have to keep the standards high and look to build on last year, so yes there’s probably a lot more pressure on me to perform.”
Last season the 19-year-old played in a number positions from right-back to the right side of a three man defence and his more natural right wing spot and he feels in the long term be able to play in a number of positions will help him.
“We are lacking a few defenders at the minute, so we need bodies, so it’s great that we have a few boys who can play across the back-line,” he added.
“Fingers crossed we can cement the back-four and keep it together.
“I have a bit of experience from last year and hopefully that will help me to try and keep on doing what I have been doing and we’ll see what happens.”
McDermott like a host of full-back’s in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division had a torrid time when he came up against Dundalk’s Daryl Horgan, but unlike so many other defender’s, the Derry man learned from his first experience against the winger.
In fact, Horgan, who has since moved to Championships side Preston, stated the McDermott reminded him of Republic of Ireland skipper Seamus Coleman.
“Once you play against someone, you kind of get to know their game and read what they are doing, but Daryl is obviously a top player, so he wasn’t easy to mark,” McDermott said.
“But playing against someone like Daryl Horgan, that experience will help me this season to know what the league is all about.”