Ruaidhri Higgins hints at busy summer transfer window to breathe new life into Derry City's fading title charge

RUAIDHRI Higgins is confident his Derry City team can put together a winning run to breathe new life into the Brandywell club's fading league title charge after the midseason break.

By Simon Collins
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 11:43 am
Updated Saturday, 28th May 2022, 11:47 am
Will Patching netted another spectacular free-kick to get Derry City back on level terms against Finn Harps on Friday night. Photograph by Kevin Moore.
Will Patching netted another spectacular free-kick to get Derry City back on level terms against Finn Harps on Friday night. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

The bullish City boss has hinted at a busy summer transfer window on Foyleside as he attempts to 're-energise' the Derry City dressing room he described as 'flat' and 'lacking belief' after a six match winless run which has seen them drift eight points behind Shamrock Rovers.

Higgins reckons the two week break in action has arrived at the 'perfect time' to 'recharge the batteries' with his team clearly struggling for form, belief and confidence. He also hopes the break will allow some of his key players sufficient time to return from injury to help boost morale in the camp.

Finn Harps helped put the skids on their title challenge as they held the Candy Stripes to a 2-2 draw at Brandywell on Friday night which saw them slip to third behind a resurgent Dundalk.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Higgins could cry conspiracy as his team conceded a controversial Eric McWoods' goal to make it 2-1, a strike he felt was 'clearly offside' on the hour mark.

"When things are going against you that happens. It looked a clear offside to me and I think a few of the people in the Finn Harps camp would agree with me," he said.

However, Higgins refused to dwell on the incident and instead focused on how to improve his squad as he looks to 'galvanise' the Brandywell club which has felt the full impact of injuries to Patrick McEleney and Cameron Dummigan in recent weeks.

"We've had a really, really good start and a poor month but can we go on a five or six game winning run? We can," he answered. "We've got the players to do that. Hopefully we can get the injured players back and there's no doubt we can put a run together and start putting points on the board again.

Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins and assistant Alan Reynolds will be plotting a way to stop the club's recent slide down the table.

"We probably need to add a couple in the summer to help us and obviously try and get our injured players back as soon as possible. There's a lot to look forward to and we will bounce back and come again," he said defiantly. "The break has come at an absolutely perfect time for us.

"The players need re-energised and the time off will do them the world of good. They will come back with a smile on their face. We've had a poor run over the last month but there's a lot to be positive about if you look at it over a longer period of time. We've Europe to look forward to, we're towards the top end of the table and we just need to kick on now and galvanise ourselves and get going again.

"There's a lot of work to be done and a lot of thinking about how we attack the second half of the season but there's also a lot to be positive about. I've no doubt we will get better from here on in."

Derry's winless run and slump in form has coincided with the loss of Patrick McEleney to injury. His absence has certainly been a factor as Derry have struggled to break down teams who appear to be reluctant to take the game to the Candy Stripes, particularly having put St Pat's and UCD to the sword late last month.

McEleney pulled out of the scoreless draw with St Pat's at Brandywell on May 9th and Derry have lost three of the following four matches, including last night's draw in the derby when they needed a 94th minute equaliser from Eoin Toal to stop that alarming losing streak.

Hoiggins agrees the absence of McEleney, and other key players, has played its part in his team's lacklustre displays of late.

"And we're missing his experience," agreed the Derry boss. "What Patrick does is grab games by the scruff of the neck when you need him to. Of course you miss that quality. It goes without saying."

When asked if it was a case of opposition teams now having their number as they set up to stifle Derry, deploying a high press to stop them building from the back and hitting on the counter like Dundalk and Harps did to such good effect in recent matches, Higgins said it was up to the coaching staff and the players to deal with the obstacles which come their way over the course of the season.

"We're going to be faced with different tasks every week and it's up to us. The players need a break and we need to get back to doing what we do best. I've no doubt the group will be galvanised. We have European football to look forward to, the FAI Cup, we would like to have more points on the board but it's not a disaster by any stretch. We will be positive because we have a lot of good players here.

"It (the performance) was lacking. There's no point in denying that, it was lacking. This is new to a lot of our players where we're fighting towards the top end of the Premier Division. We've hit a point where we look like we're lacking energy and a bit of belief and the break has come at the perfect time to hopefully reneregise the group and go again.

"It's a point and it stops the run of defeats. Did we want three? Of course we wanted three and it was our full intention but we got a point and it stops the run of defeats. Hopefully Eoin's goal can be a catalyst for us to kick on now."

Read More

Read More
Eoin Toal rescues a point at the death for Derry City against rivals Finn Harps