Michael McCrudden on verge of Derry City return
Derry City manager Declan Devine admits he won’t be taking any unnecessary risks with Michael McCrudden, despite having several injury concerns going into tomorrow night’s clash against Sligo Rovers at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium (KO 7.45pm).
With attacking duo Darren McCauley and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe both considered major doubts, the ex-Institute man, who returned from his honeymoon earlier this week, may well feature after impressing at training this week.
McCrudden, who joined the Candy Stripes in February, has been out of action since March after breaking his metatarsal in training and therefore Devine doesn’t want to rush the striker back and run the risk of losing him again.
“We are in a very good place,” he said. “Michael returned from his honeymoon in very good condition and he trained today,” he insisted.
“He has only had a couple of days training under his belt and we’ll see how he reacts. But the one thing we’ll certainly not do with Michael is take gambles with him.
“He has been out that long so we won’t rush him back and then lose him for another long period, but is he close?, I think he’s very close but it’s something on a daily basis that we are going to monitor.
“But either way what a good player he’s going to be for us coming into the end of the season and a real attacking threat.
“He gives us completely different dimensions and something that we have now at the club is really good versatility.
“McCauley can play in a number of positions, McCrudden can play in a number of positions, (Conor) Davis can play in a number of positions, Eoghan Stokes can play in a number of positions and Jamie McDonagh can also play in a number of positions, so we have versatility and we have opportunities to tweak and change things around, as we move forward, which is great for the squad.”
City will be without centre-back Eoin Toal through suspension and Devine admitted that his one match ban, might be a blessing in disguise.
“Eoin has broken a bone on his wrist, but thankfully he’s suspended this week and I don’t think the wrist injury is that bad,” he added.
“It’s a small scaphoid fracture of the wrist bone that sometimes can heal very quickly.”
Devine also hopes to ‘fast track’ more youth team players into his squad.
“Our under 19’s and 17’s are in a very good place at the minute and the young players played extremely well in a behind closed doors game against Institute on Tuesday night. The U19’s played extremely well against Finn Harps on Wednesday night and they were excellent here at home to Longford last week, so we are very much looking to fast track some of our best young players into the senior squad.
“The young players come in on a daily basis and train with the squad and certainly don’t let themselves down, so as the season evolves, I would like to incorporate a lot of these young players and give them the opportunity.
“Jack Malone has been outstanding for us anytime he has come on, so all in all we have good competition for places and we want to push it on now.”