KENNY SHIELS has been impressed by the performances of the teenage duo drafted in recently to replace key figures in his first team squad.
Both Patrick McClean and Conor McDermott have risen to the challenge and looked largely comfortable as Derry clawed out successive wins and clean sheets from matches against Sligo Rovers and Bohemians.
With Aaron Barry (hip) and Dean Jarvis (calf) out injured, Shiels’ favoured back four, which has done so well this season, was a huge concern.
However, McClean and McDermott looked at ease against a physical Bohemians outfit on Friday night.
Shiels was glowing in his praise of McDermott who he believes has a big future at the club and he’s been equally impressed with the improvements in McClean’s game.
In fact, Shiels bluntly admits that, when he first saw the Creggan man play, he simply ‘wasn’t good enough’. However, he’s quickly grown into the centre-half position in the last two fixtures - not to mention his sensational 30 yard equaliser against Longford.
“That’s the second game Patrick’s played and we’ve kept two clean sheets, so he’s done well,” said the Derry boss. “He’s a young lad who’s learning and, hopefully, he can come up a level.
“He made a couple of mistakes which we will try and take from his game. Concentration for a boy of that age is difficult but I’m pleased with his progress.
“When I first seen him in pre-season games, he wasn’t good enough but now he’s starting to learn about the game and is getting opportunities. He’s been patient and was sub for the first eight games so credit to him and I think he’s learning from watching the games and from the training ground.”
Meanwhile, Shiels has hit out at the FAI, claiming the decision to schedule Derry City’s North West derby against Finn Harps on a Tuesday night was both ‘cruel’ and ‘diabolical’.
The Derry City boss is concerned that the decision to schedule the match on Tuesday, May 10, allied to the fact it is to be televised ‘live’ on Setanta Sports, will badly affect the Brandywell club’s gate receipts.
“You would think whoever put the fixtures out would have thought - there’s a club going through transition and they want to better their facilities so two games at home to Harps would be logical.
“But, not only do they give us just one home game, they put it on a Tuesday night.
“I think it’s diabolical.”