Ruaidhri Higgins won't make 'knee jerk' appointment for Derry City assistant role

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​RUAIDHRI Higgins insists there'll be no knee-jerk reactions following the departure of Alan Reynolds and won't 'dive into' appointing his next full-time assistant manager.

​Reynolds returned to his native Waterford as Keith Long's right hand man this week leaving a major void at Brandywell but Higgins is already planning talks with a number individuals who could fit the bill as a replacement.

The Derry City supremo, however, doesn't expect to have an assistant boss in place imminently but, ideally, hopes his search doesn't become a long drawn out process either.

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Higgins, who prepares for tonight's visit of Drogheda United without 'Rennie' in his corner, went his entire first season in management without a No. 2 in place and waited eight months before bringing the Ireland U21 assistant manager on board.

He recognises that Reynolds will be a big character to replace but he wants time to mull over his options to ensure he gets the decision right.

"It is important, there's no disputing that but it's something I need to make sure I get right because we're going in a good direction and need to continue going that way.

"It's a big decision and one I can't dive into and be knee-jerk. And I might be guilty of that, I react too quickly at times."

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There will be no shortage of candidates and applicants for what's become a coveted position coaching some of the country's top players and a team expected to challenge for major honours once again this season.

Ruaidhri Higgins has a couple of potential candidates in mind for replacing former assistant boss Alan Reynolds. Photo by Kevin Moore.Ruaidhri Higgins has a couple of potential candidates in mind for replacing former assistant boss Alan Reynolds. Photo by Kevin Moore.
Ruaidhri Higgins has a couple of potential candidates in mind for replacing former assistant boss Alan Reynolds. Photo by Kevin Moore.

The usual suspects, Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin and former Finn Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty have been mentioned as potential candidates.

Another ex-Candy Stripe, Kevin McHugh has also been linked as speculation mounts but would be considered an outside bet as it stands.

"This is a club going in the right direction with a good group of players that any coach would be excited to work with so we'll see what happens over the coming weeks,” added Higgins, careful not to give too much away.

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Hopefully it won't be too far away. It won't be imminent but not too far away and we'll get something sorted."

So what attributes is he seeking from a prospective assistant coach?

"I have a couple in mind that I'll speak to and based on that we'll see how it goes. The person has to want to come here as well. I'm sure the person that comes in I'll know them and I'll know them quite well.

"You don't have to be best friends, far from it. You just have to be able to work with them. The players have to hit it off with them, they have to fit into the staff dynamic - all those sorts of things have to be taken into consideration.”

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Higgins also states that the new man won't necessarily be a carbon copy of Reynolds, claiming what he needed 12 months ago isn't exactly what he needs from a No. 2 now.

"I remember I appointed Raf (Cretaro) as first team coach in my first year as a manager and I left the assistant manager job open. It took me eight months to get one.

"So really, in my first year here I really didn't have one. The staff in place at the minute here are brilliant so there's no great panic."

The Limavady man might be regarded as a rookie manager in some quarters but he's had over six years involvement in senior management since taking up a coaching role at Dundalk in 2017.

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He's taken charge of 82 first team games as City boss and has guided the club into Europe twice and won the FAI Cup.

"I'm a lot more experienced than I was even a year ago and I've been through a lot during my time at the club.

"So I'm different now to what I was two years ago, 12 months ago so what I needed then might not necessarily be what I need now.

" So I have to weigh all that up and think what's right for everyone, myself, the staff, the players and the club and come to a decision based on that."