DERRY CITY will certainly be hoping for a Good Friday night this weekend as the “Saints” from Inchicore attempt to put a spanner in the works at the Brandywell. (Kick-off: 7.45 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
A victory would consolidate the “Candy Stripes” joint leadership of the Premier Division and with both Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers also enjoying the benefit of home fixtures against UCD and Bohemians respectively, a Derry City win would guarantee a happy Easter period.
Brandywell boss, Stephen Kenny, will be hoping for more of the same as his side certainly produced the goods against Dundalk and Galway over recent weeks and with goalscoring potential all over the park, there’s no doubt that the Dubliner will hope to heap misery on St. Pat’s.
With Barry Molloy (ankle ligaments) and Ruairi Harkin (knee) continuing to visit the treatment room, it’s expected that Kenny will remain loyal to the squad which has represented him so well over the past two games.
“We are free from suspension, but Barry Molloy and Ruairi, who missed the last three matches, remain out with injury,” confirmed Kenny last night. “But everyone else is fit and we’re certainly looking forward to the game,” he added.
“We’ve done well over the past few weeks with the players continuing to perform with great energy, passion and skill and it’s important that they continue to utilise their talent.
“We’ve been passing the ball well and using the full width of the pitch, so it’s also important that we attempt to maximise our strengths and remain confident when in possession of the ball.”
The Derry boss also agreed that St. Pat’s had been struggling this season, despite adding quality players to their panel during the close season.
“Last season they remained in contention to win the league until the final third of the season and despite adding a number of new players, things don’t seem to have gone very well for them this season.
“However, they remain very dangerous opponents with quality players such as Shane McFaul, Stephen Bradley, Ian Daly having joined them during the close season.
Pete Mahon has also signed the McMillan brothers from UCD, Evan and David not to mention former Bohemians’ long-throw expert, Anto Murphy, who is also capable of causing us problems,” noted the Dubliner.
“So St. Pat’s will present us with yet another challenge and we must always be on our guard and try to play the way we have been playing. What’s also paramount is that we’ve been getting great contributions from throughout the team, so much must retain that consistency and, at the same time, enjoy our football,” continued Kenny.
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“We’re already shown that we have goal threats spread throughout the team and we hope to maintain the standards that we’ve already set.”
Derry, of course, will be back in action on Easter Monday at the Brandywell when they entertain First Division representatives, Mervue United, in the second round of the EA Cup competition.
And while the Derry boss is anxious to progress in that competition, it’s fair to suggest that he will use the game to blood a number of his squad players who have not been getting regular game time this season.
“We will call in a few of our younger players for the Mervue game but we’re also anxious to qualify for the League Cup quarter-finals. Blooding young players continues to be very important to us so I would expect several changes for Monday’s game. However, at this stage, our total focus is on the visit of St. Pat’s, the Mervue match only coming into consideration when that game is over,” he concluded.
Easter Coaching Sessions
Meanwhile, the Derry City will a three-day coaching course for youngsters from the age of five to 15 in the Brandywell Showgrounds next week.
The fun-based coaching course will commence on Monday next and run until Wednesday, with children coached from 10.00 a.m. each day.
Those interested in taking part in the course are asked to contact the Derry City Office on 02871-373111 to register.