USUALLY associated with netting wonder goals, Brandywell boss Peter Hutton would be thrilled to witness Patrick McEleney scoring a few “bread and butter” strikes!
Delighted with the 22-year-old’s start to the season, Hutton confirmed that cross-Channel clubs had been watching his star performer who impressed against Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at St. Pat’s.
“We all know what Patrick is capable of. He’s proved that in the past with his wonderful goals but we’ve asked him to chip in with a few bread and butter strikes when inside the box,” smiled the Derry boss.
“We’d like to see him operate more inside the penalty area. We talked about this to him, we know what he can do outside it but he really has impressed our coaching staff since the season kicked-off.”
“He can be anything he wants to be as far as I’m concerned, but this season he has stepped up to the mark and his determination to succeed has not gone unnoticed.
“He ran the St. Pat’s defence ragged on Tuesday night and at times they had three or even four players attempting to stop him,” noted Hutton.
“He has matured by taking on more responsibility which is great to see and he is in his best ever physical condition.”
Not surprisingly, Hutton hopes his technically gifted striker, will again rise to the challenge against Drogheda United tonight at the Brandywell.
“For me he is one of the top players in the Premier Division. At times he ran the show in our previous games despite being forced to play in positions which do not suit him.
“However, the most pleasing aspect has been his mentality and his conduct off the pitch. Excellent in the changing room, he’s also keen to pass on his knowledge and experience to our young players.”
On the team front, Hutton must continue to plan without Stephen Dooley while full-backs, Shaun Kelly (ankle) and Dean Jarvis (toe) both withdrew from yesterday’s training session.
Gerard Doherty (neck), Ryan McBride (back) and Philip Lowry (groin) all face pre-match tests against Johnny McDonnell’s side who have Alan Byrne suspended.