KENNY SHIELS says he can’t fault ex-Derry City men Shane McEleney and Mark Timlin for leaving to join St Patrick’s Athletic, but he’s hoping it proves to be the wrong decision come the end of the season.
McEleney and Timlin will line out against their former teammates for the first time since leaving Brandywell at Richmond Park tonight in the hope of closing the gap between the Dublin club and City to a single point. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
The pair left Derry to find success at the ‘Saints’ but Shiels is hoping his side can finish ahead of Liam Buckley’s men at the end of the season and prove the ‘Candy Stripes’ are equally as ambitious.
“Everybody wants to be successful in life and in sport,” said Shiels. “I’m sure they felt they could have won more at St Pat’s than they could have at Derry. You can’t blame people for that. They’ve gone to St Pat’s to win trophies and earn good money.
“I would never, ever criticise them for being ambitious,” he added. “It’s not my position to judge whether they were right or wrong because Shane has already won a trophy with St Pat’s so it’s been proved right for him.
“Hopefully we can work to prove that overall it was a wrong move but they’re good boys. Ryan McBride for example could go to any club, and I include Dundalk, Rovers and Pat’s in that. He’s an example of someone who could go and earn more money and perhaps get more success. But he’s a Derry boy and loyal to the club. He’s an example of a real Derry City player.”
Following Monday night’s outstanding extra-time win over Cork in the EA Sports Cup quarter-final, Shiels is hoping to get his league campaign back on track tonight and open up a seven point gap on St Pat’s as the first phase of games comes to an end.
“It’s a very difficult game. I think St Pat’s are one of the best footballing teams in the league. On their own patch it’s going to be difficult.
“We’ve got 20 points and we’re at the last game in the first third and that’s a fantastic return. But we’re greedy and just want another win to go into the next phase with some confidence.”