Ruaidhri Higgins cursing his luck as Mark Connolly joins growing injury list
RUAIDHRI Higgins has suggested a lack of training may have 'come back to haunt' Mark Connolly after the experienced Derry City defender was stretchered off with a hamstring injury during Friday night's stalemate with Dundalk.
The 31-year-old Clones man has been wrapped in cotton wool in recent weeks but playing through the pain barrier as he nursed a niggling hip injury and his time on the training pitch has been limited as a result.
He pulled up clutching the back of his right leg during a sprint with Dundalk's Daniel Kelly after 14 minutes and it was clear his evening was over.
Of course Higgins is unable to determine the severity of the injury until Connolly undergoes a scan on his hamstring but it's certainly not good news for the City boss who doesn't have his sorrows to seek when it comes to the club's growing injury list. The 3G surface at Brandywell and playing three games in the space of seven days including two trips to Dublin won’t have helped but Higgins believes there could be other factors at play.
"It's a hamstring injury but obviously we need to get him scanned and see where it's at," confirmed Higgins. "It's obviously disappointing but credit to the team that we didn't lose our focus and actually got stronger and stronger as the game went on.
"It's the third game in a week and it's another hamstring injury. Mark has been nursing a small niggle in his hip that he's been getting through over the last few weeks. I don't know, but maybe the lack of training has caused it because we've been managing him over the last while.
"Maybe the lack of training has come back to haunt him," he added. "Hopefully the scan is favourable and we get him back and kick on."
The growing occurrences of hamstring and muscle injuries at Brandywell will be a real concern for Higgins and his coaching staff as Connolly joins Michael Duffy, Cameron McJannet, Cameron Dummigan, Adam O'Reilly, Colm Whelan and Ciaron Harkin on the Brandywell treatment table.
However, Higgins is confident his squad has plenty of strength in depth to cope.
"It's not ideal but do you want me to sit here and complain about it or deal with what we have? That's what we have to do and that's why we have a good squad of players. We trust everybody but we need some of our players who are out injured at the minute to return and hopefully we can get a few back soon."
Connolly will likely be ruled out of next Friday's visit of Sligo Rovers to Foyleside but Higgins is hopeful that a couple of his walking wounded return to the fold.
"We're hopeful we might have a couple back. Maybe two back and one out by the looks of things. We'll see how this week goes. You always have to be mindful of throwing out names and times of people returning because you could say someone is a week away and then something happens in their rehab that week and it sets them back so we'll not name names. But we're hopeful we might have one, if we're lucky two, but we'll see."