Derry City's Ciaran Coll aiming to stop Dundalk's Will Patching

Defender Ciaran Coll admits Derry City are fully aware of the dangers of giving away free-kicks 25 yards from goal when former team-mate Will Patching returns to the Brandywell with Dundalk on Sunday (KO 3pm).

By Kevin McLaughlin
Saturday, 14th August 2021, 7:00 am
Ciaran Coll wants Derry City to get at Dundalk right from the first whistle on Sunday afternoon.
Ciaran Coll wants Derry City to get at Dundalk right from the first whistle on Sunday afternoon.

The talented midfielder, who netted six goals in his 16 appearances during his loan spell from the Lilywhites and he had also had six assists, so the Donegal man is only too aware how deadly Patching is from a dead ball situation.

Despite the former Manchester City starlet’s threat, Coll knows Derry will have a game plan to try and ensure Patching doesn’t get enough time or space to effect the game.

“I didn’t want to mention Will because he knows nearly every inch of the Brandywell pitch, because he was one of our main players whenever he was on-loan to us,” stated Coll.

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“Even if you look at Dundalk’s previous games in Europe and he has been scoring vital goals for them but hopefully one of our players can do a wee job on him and keep him quiet on the day.

“Look you don’t give good players in any team or any league a chance to play at all, you have to get straight at them and show them that you are on our home patch and we have to be up and going from the first whistle.”

The ex-Finn Harps man was quick to also point out that Vinny Perth’s side had a lot talented players and that the Candy Stripes will need to be alert right from the off.

“You have players like Michael Duffy, Pat Hoban, David McMillan and of course you have Patrick McEleney, we know a lot of them and a few of them are ex-Derry players, but as I said we cannot give them a chance to get ahead,” he added.

“Look you don’t give good players in any team or any league a chance to play at all, you have to get straight at them and show them that you are in our home patch and we have to be up and going from the first whistle.”

Dundalk secured a narrow 2-1 win when the sides last met in June, but it was Derry’s first half display at Oriel Park that night, which annoyed Coll, because they never got a foothold in the game in the opening 45 minutes and although Derry had the momentum after Eoin Toal pulled a goal back, they never did enough to get a share of the spoils.

“We didn’t play well at Oriel Park in the first half and to be honest that killed us that night,” explained Coll.

“But there’s no venue in this league that’s easy to go too but whenever you want to try and compete and win leagues or push for European places then you have to beat teams like Dundalk, because they’ll be looking to finish above us.

“You can’t give any team a head start in any game, as I said any team in our league can just destroy you or we can destroy them, it’s just how you start games and it’s just the way things are going this season, it’s a crazy time with Covid and no fans allowed in grounds and stuff like that, but especially Dundalk you cannot give them a chance to go ahead.”

Derry currently sit four points ahead of Dundalk, although the Lilywhites have played two games less and the 29-year-old wants to increase that gap on Sunday.

However if City are to move seven points clear of the current FAI Cup holders, then they will have to improve their recent terrible record.

The Candy Stripes have only secured one victory from their last 32 encounters with Dundalk in all competitions. Their last home success came at Maginn Park thanks to a 3-1 league win in 2017 and their last league success over Dundalk at the Brandywell came in 2012, so City left-back is hoping that record can be put right this weekend.

“It’s about time Derry now start to kick-on a wee bit and we also put to bed our recent record against Dundalk,” he added. “We need to start challenging and bringing silverware back into the club, get back challenging for European places, so we can’t get a bigger opportunity now to do that by beating Dundalk on Sunday, who is one of those teams who will be challenge for honours again.

“Look as I said nothing is easy against Dundalk and you see in the game earlier in the season at the Brandywell when it was 1-1 and although the fans were outside that night, there was a real atmosphere in that game and hopefully now with fans back in the ground, we can get them bouncing again, because they can be that extra-man to kick us on.”

In their last four domestic games, Dundalk have had two narrow 1-0 wins over Treaty United in the FAI Cup and Finn Harps in the league and they have suffered two defeats in the league to Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic and it’s that form that Coll hopes will continue when they face Derry on Sunday.

“At the minute Dundalk aren’t going too well in the league and we are going into the game on a high,” he said. “We just hope now that we can keep our momentum going and keep them below us and we can continue to climb up the table.

“Ruaidhri (Higgins) will have a wee bit of homework done on them from his previous time working there and they’ll know a wee bit about them. He worked along with Vinny Perth as well.”