PATRICK McEleney has warned Derry City must be wary of a ‘wounded animal’ when they make the trip to Sligo Rovers tomorrow afternoon for the EA Sports Cup clash at the Showgrounds. (Kick-off 4 p.m.)
Both sides go into tomorrow’s second round tie on the back of heavy defeats in the league over the weekend but McEleney fears a backlash from the ‘Bit O’ Red who he believes will be hurting badly from a shock 3-1 home loss to Bray Wanderers.
And while he acknowledges Owen Heary’s troops, who have yet to win in the league this season, will be desperate to take the scalp of Derry in the league cup, he claims the ‘Candy Stripes’ will themselves have something to prove after a 3-0 defeat to Cork on Good Friday.
“The Sligo game can’t come quick enough now,” admitted McEleney.
“It’s a competition that we want to win. They will no doubt be a wounded animal after recent results and they will be coming at us.
“It will be a good match and hopefully we can start well and get back to playing well and winning games again.”
McEleney, who had Derry’s best effort of the night deep into second half stoppage time when his long range strike hit the crossbar, put Friday’s result and poor performance down to a ‘bad day at the office’.
The Shantallow man claimed Derry just didn’t do themselves justice on the night as they struggled to test Cork’s resolute defence.
Something to prove
“The Sligo game should be a good game but I suppose we have something to prove too because we didn’t do ourselves justice against Cork.
It’s a competition that we want to win. They will no doubt be a wounded animal after recent results and they will be coming at us.Patrick McEleney
“It was just a bad night at the office,” he said. “They started well and there was a big wind blowing down into the Shed End and we just couldn’t get out.
“We didn’t play at all. You get those games when you just don’t play well and that was basically what happened.
“We didn’t really create anything but I feel sorry for the boys at the back because it’s us boys further up the field who can’t seem to hold up the ball and the defence is just getting peppered.
“Ryan (McBride), Shane (McEleney), Aaron (Barry), Dean (Jarvis) and Shaun (Kelly) have all been brilliant and we, the players further up the field have to take the blame for them being put under pressure,” he confessed.
“We didn’t play well and that’s the first league game this season we haven’t played to any sort of standard. You’re going to get those games. It’s just one of those things. The goals we gave away were very poor, We knew they were going to be very strong from set pieces. They have seven or eight players over six foot and they just seemed to win everything.”
McEleney was impressed by Cork who he believes will be once again challenging for the league title but he feels they have a huge advantage over Derry given their financial budget and their large squad.
“They will be up there this year but they are beatable. “They have quality players all round the pitch and have boys on the bench who have won things.
“Cork are a good side and they will be up there challenging but their budget is probably 10 times the size of ours. “They could field three teams that could play in the league. “It comes down to money at times. And they have loads of it and we don’t,” he concluded.