Ronan Curtis among key trio rated doubtful for Derry City's trip to St Pat's
RONAN Curtis is rated doubtful for tonight's league clash against in-form St Patrick's Athletic as the Portsmouth-bound winger nurses a knee injury sustained in training yesterday afternoon.
The Republic of Ireland Under 21 international is one of three influential players who could potentially sit out the trip to Inchicore with Nicky Low and Conor McDermott also carrying injuries as City go in search of a first win in four games which would maintain fourth spot this weekend.
With doubts lingering over the availability of Curtis given he’s agreed terms with Portsmouth this week, Shiels stated he would be surprised if there was any conditions with the deal - worth a tidy six figure sum to Derry - which prevent him from playing the next five games for the club before his move is completed on June 8th.
And despite his injury, Shiels confirmed he would be part of the travelling squad for tonight’s encounter.
“I don’t know enough about it because the club are dealing with that and if there’s any conditions,” said Shiels.
“I’d be surprised if there were conditions and if he couldn’t play. They want him fresh for their new season but they have players who have played 55 games this season whereas Ronan has only played 13 or 14. Another four or five would keep him fresh and fit.”
“He’s in the squad for Friday without a doubt,” stressed Shiels. “As I said. I don’t know what the conditions are in his contract so I can’t really say. Whether it’s until after we go out of Europe I don’t know.
“I can’t answer that. It’s just important that everything is in the best interests of my club.”
Shiels is expecting a tough encounter against Liam Buckley’s men tonight but he’s hoping his side can return to winning ways after a three game winless run in the league.
The teams are level on 27 points with the Candy Stripes boasting a marginally better goal difference and a game in hand over the Saints.
However, Shiels revealed his side go to Dublin under-strength and feeling ‘flat’ following the 4-1 loss at the hands of a rampant Dundalk last Monday night.
“Ronan is actually carrying a knee injury so he could be out,” confirmed Shiels. “Conor McDermott and Nicky Low are both struggling, so those three could potentially miss the game which will leave us very under strength.”
St Pat’s counted themselves unfortunate to leave Brandywell empty-handed when the teams met last March when City won 2-1 thanks to two Aaron McEneff goals.
And following a 5-0 hammering against Dundalk they’ve since gone on an impressive three game winning run and Shiels reckons they will be major contenders in the race for Europe.
“We were fortunate that night as everyone keeps reminding us,” said Shiels. “Because I admitted we were lucky the media and St Pat’s themselves have talked about that every since, saying how lucky we were to win.
“But they’ve won their last three and are up there level with us now. They’ve come up through the pack. The qualities they have you can see they are up where their budget allows them to be.
“They have good players and should be a force and contention for a European place also. We go there and try and win the match like we always do,” he promised.