Cork City’s Stephen Dooley hopes his old club Derry City return to their old selves sooner rather than later.
The talented winger, who produced a man of the match display against Derry on Friday night, believes his former team-mates will bounce back.
“Obviously, the last couple of games for Derry it hasn’t gone their way,” he stated.
“They are an incredible side, probably the best footballing side in the league and hopefully they can pick themselves back up after everything which has happened.
“I know the players don’t want sympathy but it’s just an incredibly tough situation for them and hopefully they can bounce back.”
The 25-year-old, who has played his part in the Rebel Army’s blistering start to the season, believes champions Dundalk will be difficult to dethrone but he and his team-mates are fully focused on trying to win the title this year.
We know that it’s just a start, but things are encouraging and our eyes are on the prize, we want to win the league this year.Stephen Dooley
“We want to be in the hunt towards the end of the season,” he said.
“Dundalk are going to win pretty much every game so we’re going in with that mentality that we have to win pretty much every game as well because we know how good they are.
“We know that it’s just a start, but things are encouraging and our eyes are on the prize, we want to win the league this year.”
The Ballymoney man felt Derry started the better team on Friday night, but Garry Buckley’s goal just before the break settled Cork down and they ran out comfortable winners.
“I think we started the game reasonably well. Derry played a bit better in the early stages but we managed to dig in and get that goal just before the half ended. That settled us down and allowed us to kick-on in the second half.
“Once we got the second we were relatively comfortable after that.
“We’ve started off the season playing okay, but not what we were capable off. We are still getting the results, which was the main thing.
“But in the last couple of weeks we have been getting the results and playing a bit better.”
Dooley, along with Sean Maguire, Karl Sheppard and Buckley has been amongst the goals during the early part of the season and he’s enjoying life with the Munster men.
“When you play in a team with Seanie and Shep and the boys then they make it easy for you, as they make great runs,” he said.
“I think sometimes it goes unnoticed but our midfield of Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley, Gearóid Morrissey and Greg (Bolger) when he comes back, they all do a lot work and are chipping in with goals now themselves, so signs are encouraging but we aren’t going to get carried away.
“I think Seanie has improved a lot since last year and last year he was incredible. You could see when we were 2-0 up that he wasn’t happy because he hadn’t scored his goal and that’s a good thing for a striker.
“Then when he scored that goal, you could see the delight in him.
“He works so hard every training sessions, every game; he’s an incredibly player and with a player like him, he digs us out of holes and has done that already on numerous times this season If we can hold onto him we have got a great chance of winning this league.”
Dooley is already looking to secure another success at Bohemians, this Friday. “We play Bohs away, next and they are a team who have some great results, so we are expecting them to raise their game, but we want to get nine from nine.”