Derry City's Shane McEleney aiming to turn things around at Sligo Rovers

Centre-back Shane McEleney feels Derry City are ahead of schedule, despite a recent dip in form and he hopes they can get back to winning ways at Sligo Rovers tonight.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 9:06 am
Defender Shane McEleney is looking forward to this evening's game at Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI
Defender Shane McEleney is looking forward to this evening's game at Sligo Rovers. Picture by Kevin Moore/MCI

Derry, have only secured two victories in their last eight league games, travel to the Showgrounds to face a Bit O'Red side who sacked manager Liam Buckley on Sunday morning.

McEleney, who is expecting a tough test this evening, still feels Ruaidhrí Higgins side, who sit seven points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, can bounce back from Friday's home defeat to Dundalk.

"I feel we're ahead of schedule and we have been second to none up until now," stated McEleney.

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"There's tremendous effort there and you see on Friday night that we clawed our way back into the game with a bit of grit and it was a great header from Aki (James Akintunde), but their winner was one of those goals that took the sting out of our momentum, but we have to learn from it, both as individuals and as a group.

"Look, that's football and the good thing about it is that we have got Monday to look forward to in Sligo and hopefully we can turn it around.

"I think up until now people will have seen the performances, it has been second to none and the effort that the boys have given, but sometimes your results don't go your way and that happened on Friday night.

"But look, Monday comes quick and we'll look forward to that. Sligo is never an easy place to go to. Anytime that I have been there you always know that you have been in a game.

"It's a wee tight pitch and after they suffer a defeat, they'll be like a wounded animal, but look we just have to concentrate on ourselves. Yes results haven't been going our way recently but you always get a period in the season, but hopefully we can bounce back on Monday."

The former Finn Harps defender was disappointed following the loss to the Oriel Park men and admitted their first half performance wasn't good enough.

"It wasn't the result we were looking for and especially after a few positive performances but not getting the results," he added.

"I thought the first half wasn't acceptable on our part but the second half we showed loads of effort and a bit of grit to get back into the game and then we got a sucker punch towards the end.

"Our performances recently up until the first half tonight (Friday - against Dundalk) have warranted wins but sometimes you don't get the wee rub of the green, but look it's not dire straits by many means, we're still second in the table and we have to try and build on it on Monday."

The 31-year-old believes that the youthful City squad have done well so far but they need to regroup and look to bounce back this week with two North West derbies against Sligo and Finn Harps.

"There's a lot of young players in this group and people need to understand the average age of this team is very young," he conceded. "I think myself and Daniel (Lafferty) are the only two who are over 30, so a lot of experience needs to be brought to the fore on Monday and hopefully we can all come together and get a win down in Sligo.

"Even though Patrick (McEleney) has been absent and so has Michael (Duffy) for a long period, I think that everyone who has played has stepped up to the plate.

"We definitely want to get a bit of momentum going into the break and getting two positives going into the break would stand us in good stead.

"Look there's good togetherness in the squad, we have hit a wee bit of a flat spot in terms of results, but we came in on Saturday, got our recovery done and that's when preparation started for Monday's game in Sligo, which is just another game and hopefully we can go and get the win."

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