Derry City manager Stephen Kenny says that his team will be ready to do battle when they travel to take on league leaders Shamrock Rovers in Dublin tomorrow evening.
The Dubliners are currently five points ahead of Stephen Kenny’s team who sit on level points with St. Patrick’s Athletic in fourth.
“We are firmly focused on Monday’s game,” said Kenny. “Shamrock Rovers are a good team and they are able to rotate their team a lot more than other squads. For example they were able to rest Ken Oman for Friday’s game with UCD and everyone knows just how important a player he is.”
“We know what they [Shamrock Rovers] are capable of,” explained Kenny. “However, we’ll be able to welcome James McClean back from suspension so that will give us more options on the pitch. I am confident in my team and I know that if we play to the best of our ability then we can beat anyone in this league - we are more than up for the fight.”
Derry played out a 1-1 victory with St. Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park on Friday evening. Derry’s trip to the Tallaght Stadium was due to take place a few weeks ago but it had to be rescheduled because of Rovers’ involvement in the final of the Setanta Sports Cup. Tomorrow’s trip to Dublin will be Derry’s second in a matter of days.
“The players will be back in training [today] and we’ll be ready for the Rovers game. It should be a good game and the players are looking forward to it.”
Derry’s draw with St. Pat’s on Friday saw them slip down a place in the league standings to fourth. Despite being forced to share the spoils with Pete Mahon’s team Kenny said that he was pleased with the result and heaped praise upon his goalkeeper Gerard Doherty.
“Credit must go to Gerard because he only got married in Italy on Wednesday and he flew back to join up with the rest of the team in Dublin on Friday. Gerard performed really well and he made some terrific saves - it was a remarkable display by him.”
Derry took the lead in the first half when Stephen McLaughlin netted from outside the box but parity was restored just before half time when English born striker Danny North scored.
“Stephen McLaughlin had his best performance in a Derry City shirt on Friday,” said Kenny. “He played really well and he showed why we signed him. Stephen’s goal was actually his third attempt of the game - he did really, really well and I was delighted to see him get on the score sheet.”
Kenny admitted that he always expects tough encounters when he takes his team to Dublin and explained that Friday’s game was no different.
“It was a really entertaining game with plenty of chances. Daniel Lafferty was very unlucky not to score with an amazing free-kick - sadly it came off the post and back into play again. We could have went 2-0 up but then that was when we conceded just before half-time.
“Although I felt that we made a few mistakes during the game I thought that we played some nice football. It was disappointing to concede because we had been playing so well but there’s nothing we can do about it now. We just have to take the point and the positives from the game and start concentrating on the game with Shamrock Rovers on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kenny and several of his players including Kevin Deery, Ruaidhri Higgins and Eddie McCallion were all guests at former team mate Paddy McCourt’s wedding yesterday.