DERRY City’s demolition of UCD last weekend could have a significant impact on one particular Derry City player who is on the verge of making his 500th competitive appearance for his home town club.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
“Steady” Eddie McCallion, if selected to play against Drogheda United tonight at the Brandywell (7.45 p.m.), will reach that personal milestone.
But team boss, Stephen Kenny, will have an integral role to play on his full-back’s hopes of reaching legendary status!
In fact, Kenny has yet to name his team for the game against Mick Cooke’s side, suggesting that the 7-0 victory over UCD had given him “food for throught.” And while McCallion, team skipper, Kevin Deery and Emmet Friars all return from one match automatic suspensions, the Dubliner could well opt to remain faithful with the team that served him so well against the students.
“I honestly haven’t selected the team for Drogheda just yet,” claimed the Brandywell boss last night.
“I’m aware of the statistics, but I have been given food for thought following our performance against UCD and it’s possible that I could go with the same team again,” he insisted.
“Obviously, I’ve a bit of thinking to do before the match, so the team will not be named until later on Tuesday afternoon.”
Should the Dubliner go with Friday’s starting line-up, then McCallion could be forced to wait for another week at least with midfielder, Ruairi Harkin, deputising at right-back against the “Drogs.”
However, it’s hard to see Kenny not remaining loyal to his regular No. 2 defender given that Harkin is much more suited to a role further up the park.
Kenny, however, refused to be drawn and looking forward to tonight’s game, he made it clear that complacency would not be a worrying factor against Drogheda. Indeed, he was quick to point out that Derry had led 2-0 at Hunky Dorys Park back in March only to concede two goals in the space of as many second half minutes with the “Candy Stripes” having to eventually settle for a point.
“Drogheda will be well organised under Mick Cooke. They were very unlucky to lose 1-0 against Bohemians last weekend and while they have been involved in quite a few tight games, they’ve yet to win one.
“We surprisingly let a 2-0 lead slip in our last game against them and I would expect them to be competitive at the Brandywell.
“I know it’s probably a contradiction in terms, but there are no easy games in this league.
“The UCD match has gone, it was a unique result on a night when everything seemed to go well for us, but it’s now gone. We’ve got to keep our feet firmly on the ground and try to win as many matches as we can and see where that takes,” continued Kenny.
He urged his players to be patient, attempt to play at a high tempo and be confident when in possession of the ball.
“The UCD result will certainly give us a significant boost. We played very well and scored some excellent team goals on the night. I want us to enjoy the game but be disciplined and patient at the same time.”
Derry, Harps Drawn
Away in F.A.I. Cup
Meanwhile, Derry City will return to Ferrycarrig Park in the third round of the FAI Cup having been paired with First Division strugglers, Wexford Youths.
And while Kenny would have preferred a home fixture, he didn’t seem too concerned having to travel back to a ground which has brought happy memories in the past.
Derry on the League Cup final at that venue against Mick Wallace’s Youths on a 6-1 scoreline but he was more concerned with the last meeting, Derry having been held 1-1 when playing in the First Division during last season’s campaign.
“We won well at Ferrycarrig Park a few years ago when claiming the League Cup, but it’s also worth nothing that we were held 1-1 on our last visit there in 2010 when in the First Division, so nothing can be taken for granted,” he concluded.
Finn Harps, meanwhile, who actually lost 1-0 in Ballybofey last Friday to Wexford Youths, have also been drawn away from home, Peter Hutton’s charges facing a trip to in-form First Division side, Longford Town.
All third round ties must be played on the weekend of June 5th next.