Derry City's Will Patching thrilled to back at Brandywell

Midfielder Will Patching believes Derry City will be title contenders next season and says he already can’t wait for the 2022 campaign to get underway.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Monday, 22nd November 2021, 7:55 pm
Derry City pair Will Patching and Ciaron Harkin pictured in the club's new O'Neills polo shirts. Picture by Kevin Morrison
Derry City pair Will Patching and Ciaron Harkin pictured in the club's new O'Neills polo shirts. Picture by Kevin Morrison

The 23-year-old, who has signed a two year deal with the Brandywell side, admitted working again with Ruaidhri Higgins and his plans to be challenging for the Premier Division title next season were two reasons why he rejoined the club.

Patching was in sparkling form during his loan spell on Foyleside earlier this year, scoring six goals and registering six assists in 16 games before returning to Vinny Perth’s side in July despite Derry’s best attempts at trying to sign him on a permanent deal at the time. Now though, Higgins has his man.

“One of the reasons I decided to join Derry is because I feel we are going to be challenging for honours,” explained Patching, “A big part of what Ruaidhri wants to do is to be challenging for the title.

“I’m delighted everything is now done. Myself and Ruaidhri have been speaking for a few months now and I just wanted to be a part of his project and the plan that he’s putting together. I’m delighted to get it over the line and I’m obviously looking forward to next season.

“Knowing the type of football and style of play Ruaidhri wants, I just felt it suited me right down to a tee. It was also a big part of me coming back.”

The Derry boss believes that his new recruit has the ability to play anywhere in the midfield and Patching revealed he doesn’t mind where he plays, as long as he’s playing.

“He’s the manager and I do what he says. As long as I’m on the pitch and we are doing well then that’s the main thing,” he conceded.

“Through my career I have played in all the positions in central midfield. When I was younger I was more defensive, sitting in front of the back four but I have been moving higher up over the last few years. I’m happy to play as a sitting midfielder, a number eight or a number 10. I don’t mind any of those positions. I like playing in any of them, so whatever it is.”

The ex-Manchester City starlet is also looking forward to linking up once more with former Dundalk team-mates Patrick McEleney and Michael Duffy and he feels with the way Derry finished the 2021 campaign then exciting times are ahead for the club and the fans.

The Stockport native also joked that all three players will be fighting over who’s taking the free-kicks next season.

“I think you can add Mickey to me and Fats for looking to take the free-kicks, all three of us will probably be doing rock, paper, scissors,” he joked.

“It’s definitely exciting times ahead. Myself and Fats play well together, we understand each other’s game. He’s a great player, likewise Mickey, and it’s something for the fans to get excited about.

“Even with the players that he’s bringing in and with how the lads finished the season, I’m sure the fans will be expecting a lot and hopefully we can deliver for them.”

Patching said he can’t wait to play in front of a packed Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, something which he didn’t experience during his loan spell.

“I’m not sure if I was here when we got fans in, maybe one or two games with small crowds, but I have seen some games and it looks some atmosphere so I’m buzzing to get going,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to give the fans something to cheer about next season, but as I said I’m looking forward to playing in front of a packed Brandywell.”