DERRY CITY boss, Kenny Shiels claims he has been having sleepless nights as he attempts to solve the Brandywell club’s player recruitment problems.
The club has experienced an unprecedented turnaround of players this season with Shiels signing 17 players in total, SEVEN of those since departing the Brandywell outfit.
I’m trying to bring in players and I’m trying everywhere to get players. If you were manager of Derry where would you go for players?Kenny Shiels
Rory Patterson (Crusaders), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Ben Doherty (Glenavon) and Nathan Boyle (Finn Harps) are among others who have left for pastures new, leaving Shiels with an almost unrecognisable side to that which started the 2018 campaign.
For that reason City Chairman, Philip O’Doherty was prompted to implement a new transfer policy, insisting Shiels would be given more time to ‘dig deeper into the backgrounds of players’ and promised there would be more rigorous medical assessments completed to ensure ‘better player selection in the future’.
Following last Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to champions elect, Dundalk, where there was amazingly more Derry players involved for the Co. Louth side than there were for the Candy Stripes, Shiels admitted he’s faced with a difficult job to recruit new players.
Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy, Dean Jarvis and Georgie Kelly were all involved for the Lilywhites while Gerard Doherty was the only representative from the city in the Derry team at the full-time whistle.
It’s evidence of just how hard a task it is for Shiels to fend off competition from the league’s big spenders for the best talent in Derry and the North West.
“It’s difficult to sleep at night because I’m trying to get players to stay,” said Shiels. “I’m trying to bring in players and I’m trying everywhere to get players. If you were manager of Derry where would you go for players?
“This is the problem we have. It’s very difficult to get the right players at the right age. We need two good experienced centre backs. Our two full-backs are bang on and we have Conor McDermott as well coming back next year from his operation. So we have three really good full-backs.
“We need two really experienced centre backs to help us build from the back. Where do I get two experienced centre backs? I tried for six months to get Georgie Kelly to sign and Dundalk get him in two minutes.
“I’m playing with rookies but I’m trying to teach them and we’re trying to learn as much as we can. I thought in the second half they did the city proud against the champions elect.
“It’s a long term project and I don’t want to be losing a pile of players at the end of this season. I want to keep them and add to them,” he concluded.