Derry City manager Declan Devine says that the thought going head-to-head with his old boss Stephen Kenny in Tallaght tonight is not something that he is losing sleep over.
Tonight’s clash between Derry City and Sligo Rovers is the first leg of the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final. It will be the first time that Devine and Kenny will have faced off against one another since parting ways earlier this year.
Rovers boss Kenny left Derry for Dublin at Christmas time and it was expected that his loyal assistant coach Devine would join him in Tallaght.
Devine had ambitions of his own. He won the race to be Kenny’s successor and took up the Brandywell post in the first week of January.
“Obviously the fact that myself and Stephen were involved together at Derry City will grab some of the headlines but if I am honest with you it’s something that I haven’t even thought about,” said Devine.
“All I am concerned about is beating Shamrock Rovers and making sure that Derry City make it into the final of the Setanta Sports Cup.”
Devine will enter the Tallaght Stadium with fresh injury concerns. Right-back Simon Madden sustained a dead leg and forward David McDaid hurt his foot during the draw with Sligo Rovers on Friday night.
“The injuries are mounting up,” said Devine. “On Friday alone we had three of Under 21 players on the bench. Both Simon and David picked up knocks so we will have to see if they can play against Rovers.”
He added: “I have to praise the players for their application, in particular Rory Patterson. Rory has been training with a serious foot injury the last few weeks and at one stage I didn’t think he’d be able to play against Sligo. But fair play to him he came to me during the game and said that he wanted to go and do his best for the team. I feel Rory Patterson doesn’t get enough credit for what he does for this team.
“I was also impressed with how Mark Farren played against Sligo Rovers. Mark played up front by himself and he never stopped running all night - it was a typical Mark Farren performance.”
Derry have been found wanting in their last two recent league performances against U.C.D. and Drogheda United. Despite emerging from the Showgrounds with a point, Devine said he was disappointed not to have beaten the league leaders in their own backyard.
“I was content with a point but if I am honest with you I would have to say I was disappointed we didn’t win the match.
“Patrick McEleney was unlucky not to have found the back of the net and the save Gary Rodgers made during the game was world-class. I feel it was a game we should have won.
“I was happy with how David McDaid performed. David has been unlucky in the past but when I took over I wanted to make sure that he stayed at the club because he’s exactly the kind of player I want playing for Derry City.