Derry City's first Brandywell training session cancelled by Council

DERRY CITY’s preparations for its return to Brandywell Stadium have been hit badly after yesterday’s training session at the ground was cancelled at the final hour.

With Phase One of the Brandywell Regeneration Project complete and ownership of the stadium officially handed back to Derry and Strabane District Council on Monday, Kenny Shiels had planned a training session on the pitch to introduce his players to the new artificial surface.

However, Council informed the club it couldn’t train on the pitch until the necessary safety documentation was in place, leaving Shiels to look elsewhere for a suitable venue.

A spokesperson for Council last night told the ‘Journal’ work was ‘progressing well’ and it was in direct contact with Derry City regarding Friday night’s match.

“Work to have the pitch ready for the Derry City v. Dundalk game on Friday evening is progressing well,” it read. “The Council is working with Derry City directly with regards to arranging pre-match training sessions and advised them that these will commence once the full safety documentation is in place.”

Shiels refused to comment on the situation but the club issued the following statement regarding match arrangements for Friday night.

"Derry City Football Club looks forward to welcoming everyone to the refurbished Brandywell stadium for our long-awaited first home game of 2018 against Dundalk on Friday night.

“Demand for tickets is expected to be high so get yours at the usual outlets as early as possible.

"Entry into the stadium throughout the season will be by ticket only and only at turnstiles - not exit gates - will be operational for those coming into the ground.

“Any patrons who may be entitled to free entry must request their pass directly from the club no later than three days prior to games.”

Kenny Shiels' plans to introduce his players to the new artificial surface at Brandywell Stadium were disrupted as Derry and Strabane District Council refused them permission to train on Monday night due to a lack of safety documentation.

Kenny Shiels' plans to introduce his players to the new artificial surface at Brandywell Stadium were disrupted as Derry and Strabane District Council refused them permission to train on Monday night due to a lack of safety documentation.