KENNY SHIELS insists he will not '˜pitch' in with any excuses should Derry City fail to get their season off the mark tonight when an in-form Cork City arrive at Brandywell Stadium. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
There was much furore surrounding the conditions and state of the horrendous Finn Park pitch last weekend which, undoubtedly, hampered City’s opening foray in the new Airtricity Premier Division campaign.
However, Shiels has promised Derry City fans they will see a much improved, more cohesive performance tonight in their opening home match on an improved surface. He says he’s anxious to give the home support ‘something to shout about’.
“Cork’s going to be a much better game to play in and we’re looking forward to it,” said Shiels. “I expect it to be a better pitch and you will see a different Derry City in terms of the way we play.
“I’ve looked at the pitch and, obviously, it’s better than the one we were on last week, so we don’t have any excuses now. We have to make sure we’re ready for everything that comes our way.
“We want our support to get behind us as much as they can and we need to give the fans something to shout about,” added the Derry boss.
“It was disappointing for the supporters last week and we’re all hurting. I was really disappointed for everyone as it meant so much to them. So, we feel a bit shallow over the whole thing. But it won’t stop the commitment and dedication towards Friday’s game . We’ve prepared well for that now and move on.”
Shiels has had to lift the spirit in the Derry camp this week following that frustrating derby defeat and he’s challenged his players to match the workrate and qualities of the President’s Cup champions if they are to kick-start their season with a first home win.
“We’re trying to get a positive energy about the place,” added Shiels. “It’s not easy when you lose a game of such significance as Finn Harps. So, we now need to give the supporters something to cheer about and we need to start winning matches.”