Patrick McEleney praises Derry City's handling of injury as return home “exceeds expectations”

PATRICK McELENEY has praised Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins and his backroom staff for managing his return from injury ‘perfectly’ with the talented midfielder believing he’s beginning to click into gear at just the right time.

By Simon Collins
Friday, 6th May 2022, 4:37 pm
Patrick McEleney believes he's beginning to click into gear after returning from a long term injury.
Patrick McEleney believes he's beginning to click into gear after returning from a long term injury.

With a critical run of fixtures coming up over the next seven days against Bohemians, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers, McEleney is ‘excited’ to play his part as City attempt to maintain their place on the league summit.

The 29 year-old Shantallow man was singled out by Higgins after last Friday’s 4-0 drubbing of St Pat’s for a ‘sensational’ display and McEleney insists his return to Derry has ‘exceeded expectations’.

Higgins has carefully managed his midfield talisman who sustained a hamstring injury playing for Dundalk against Derry last August. He’s played 11 out of the opening 13 matches so far and McEleney reckons everything has gone to plan and can only get better as the season progresses.

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“I’ve been able to get out there as much as possible,” he said. “I’ve only missed two games. Being out there is the main thing.

“We had a plan before pre-season. It’s no secret it was a really bad injury last year and it took a while to get myself going and come around from it. But I feel I’m hitting the ground now.

“There are big games coming up and a lot of exciting times so I feel the way they’ve managed me has been perfect.

“It’s a slow build and that’s the way it had to be. Had I rushed back from that injury it wouldn’t have been a good thing in the long run. So let’s just hope the plan is working. When I’m out there I think I’ll do a good job for the team and that’s the main thing.”

McEleney’s been part of three League of Ireland title winning squads with Dundalk and knows what it takes to sustain a challenge at the top. Without getting carried away, he believes this Derry City team have already shown the right attributes to last the distance.

“It’s been amazing so far,” he added, “I know it’s easy to say that when things are going well but even after the two results against Shelbourne and Drogheda when it didn’t go so well, we just got our heads down, got together and answered questions.

“We’re going to have to do that again at some stage during the year. But I knew it would be a brilliant dressing room because I know the manager really well. I know what he’s about and he wouldn’t let anything happen but it has exceeded my expectations in terms of how tight the group is. Everybody would do anything for each other.

“With Derry people, all they ask for is for us to give 110 percent in every game and I don’t think anybody can question that.”

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