DERRY CITY manager, Kenny Shiels, claims 2016 will be a time to ‘consolidate and grow’ for the Brandywell club as he looks ahead to forthcoming Airtricity Premier Division campaign.
Delivering a New Year message to Derry City supporters, Shiels urged them to get behind his young squad in 2016 as he strives to achieve his objectives on the pitch.
The forthcoming season will be ‘a time to build’ for Derry City with work on the Brandywell Stadium and pitch scheduled, while Shiels continues to assemble his new-look squad.
And the Magherafelt man has called on the club’s fans to be patient during what’s expected to be a rocky ride in 2016.
“The ethos of what we’re trying to achieve is to consolidate and grow - that’s the two main objectives,” explained the City boss.
“And we’ve also got to establish links with the city and community,” he added. “These are external to what’s happening on the football pitch but they all go hand-in-hand.
“It’s important we approach this season with enthusiasm and relish to do well and the pitch will gradually improve I would hope.
“While my main objective is to do well with the first team, I aim to develop young players and bring them through to get ourselves into the position, in two years time when my contract is up, to look at the first team and see these kids coming through and doing well.
“Hopefully, we will see plenty of progress and when that time arrives - in two years time - people will understand the journey which is about to take place in 2016.
“Until we get there, it’s going to be rocky and all I ask is for patience. I want people to come and support the players.”
That said, Shiels, who added young striker Nathan Boyle to his squad this week following his loan spell at Finn Harps, is still seeking experienced players and has targeted further additions to his side in the New Year.
“Nathan was free to leave after his loan deal at Finn Harps which was bizarre. He’s under-23 and so I had a couple of meetings with him and convinced him he had a chance with us. He’s very quick and we’ll have to try and teach him the game a bit more but his spell with Harps will have helped his confidence and his understanding of the game. I’m still on the lookout all the time.
“So contrary to what I’ve said about the progression of youth players - to bring that along I need older players.
“We need a little bit more experience than what we have now and that’s what I’m targeting. I have some good young players coming through thanks to the work of my predecessors and the youth department. I have to avail of all of that. The young boys will come through and do well but I need to make sure we have experience with that.”
Shiels has organised a friendly match against Tobermore United tomorrow at Brandywell Stadium providing the weather holds up which will involve the club’s U-17 and U-19 players.