GIVEN THE fact that Derry City face no fewer than seven matches over a period of 21 days - with five trips to Dublin included - it comes as no surprise that Stephen Kenny will impose changes for tonight’s FAI Cup clash at Ferrycarrig Park. (7.45 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And with his first team squad brimming with young players, at least four such individuals will be included in tonight’s fixture against First Division, Wexford Youths.
Individuals such as Michael McCrudden, Stephen McLaughlin. David McDaid and Ruairi Harkin are expected to make the starting line-up, with a rest offered to a number of others.
Derry will be considered cast iron certainties to win the tie at the first attempt but should the game go to a replay, then that fixture will take place at the Brandywell next Monday night.
Kenny, certainly, will wish to avoid that scenario at all costs but he agreed that while his “Candy Stripes” would be expected to win at what has been something of a happy hunting ground, he also warned against complacency.
“In any game, it’s vital that we prepare well and we have done that. There are a number of players that we need to continue to look at and with a very heavy schedule ahead, it’s now time for those players to stand up and be counted,” claimed the Dubliner.
“We will face a number of suspensions over the next few weeks with James McClean already banned for the trip to St. Pat’s next Friday night, so we have to be careful, manage certain situations and, at the same time, play to the level we have set ourselves this season.”
New wingers to start
When pressed on the identities of the players he would include against Wexford, Kenny agreed that wingers, Michael McCrudden and Stephen McLaughlin, would be given a window of opportunity to impress.
“These players are not youth team players, they are members of the first team squad and I’ve every confidence in them stepping in. But they’ll not get it easy in Wexford who were unlucky to lose out to a late Shelbourne goal last week and, of course, they’ve already recorded a victory over Finn Harps in Ballybofey this season,” he noted.
“But there will be changes for the cup match when one considers the schedule we will face over the next three weeks. Shane McEleney (groin) and Emmet Friars (hip flexor) are both ruled out and they will not travel, while a number of other players require a rest.
“Therefore, I would envisage four or five changes from the squad which performed so well against Galway on Monday night but, as I’ve already said, I have every confidence in those those will be brought in.
“We also have other young players doing particularly well in our youth and reserves teams and there’s no point in stating that we’re trying to bring young players through if those players are not given a chance to express themselves,” insisted the Dubliner.
Delighted with Display
Looking back to last Monday’s performance, the Brandywell boss was delighted with the level of performance exhibited by his players and while he enjoyed watching the display, he did highlight the fact that Galway had arrived without a few of their more experienced players.
“I was very impressed with the performance,” he continued. “We gave a top class display but I think it’s also worth noting that not only were Galway missing a few players, they never deviated from their 4-4-2 formation and came up here to play against us.
“Some teams travel to the Brandywell in an attempt to stifle our performances and, indeed, make it very difficult for us to play. Galway didn’t do that and I think we took full advantage and punished them.
“We produced some excellent passages of play, scored top quality goals and our players are always made fully aware of the fact that it costs money to watch them perform and people are entitled to get value for their money,” declared Kenny.
“We want our supporters to come and watch matches and be inspired at what they see. That’s very important to us and it’s part of our core belief and fundamental to what we are about as a team,” he concluded.
Monthly Draw Winner
Meanwhile, the Derry City Monthly Draw winner for May is Gareth Breslin from Cashelmore Park, Derry.
Gareth wins £1,000 as his ticket, No. 676, was drawn of the hat yesterday in the Derry City Offices.