Derry City's Patrick McEleney focused on improving

Captain Patrick McEleney believes there’s more to come from both himself and Derry City in 2023.

The 30-year-old says the Candy Stripes can and must raise their game once more in 2023.

The City playmaker is hoping that he can stay injury free and believes the work he did with Kevin McCreadie (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and Michael Hegarty (Physiotherapist) will benefit him this season.

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"I'm praying that last season gave me a platform to not look back now and keep kicking forward,” he insisted, "I want to try and be even better again, which I know I can be because there's a lot more in me. While I'm not putting pressure on myself, I think that's a fact because I feel I can be even better.

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins and captain Patrick McEleney celebrate their FAI Cup success, after their win over Shelbourne, in November's final at the Aviva Stadium. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

"Kevin and Michael were unbelievable for me last year. I know it was a slow process but the injury I had was really bad. They got me into the right place and, as I said, just like all the boys I can't wait now to get going again."

The Shantallow man admits last season’s FAI Cup triumph over Shelbourne at the Aviva Stadium, has whetted the appetite of everyone at the club and left a spring in the Derry City step ahead of pre-season which starts on January 3rd.

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"We've been working away after having a couple of weeks off after the Cup final, when you have to have your body switched off for a few weeks,” he added.

"To be honest things have changed with the way you have to live and the way you have to train so, yeah, we've been really at it and I'm just looking forward to getting everyone together again.

"The game’s changed. When I started to play in the League of Ireland you had nearly seven weeks of doing nothing, a couple of runs and then you were into pre-season but sports science has changed things and it's for the better.

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"Your body will feel better for it whenever you come back but, yeah, the lads who've been away have come back early which is great.

"I know there are still a couple more to come back, but I was speaking to (Cameron) McJannet and he's flying in early before the New Year which shows you the commitment and I think everybody is now looking forward to things getting started.”