Shiels hails 'fantastic' Aaron McEneff after his brace puts City back on winning trail
KENNY SHIELS praised the impact of Derry City's leading goalscorer, Aaron McEneff whose brace against basement club, Bray Wanderers sent the Candy Stripes back into fourth spot.
The in-form midfielder has been reportedly attracting interest from Bristol City and League One champions, Wigan in recent weeks and it was easy to see why as his class shone through at Brandywell on Monday night with goals at the end of either half seeing off the stubborn Seagulls who are fighting for their Premier Division lives.
McEneff, who was pipped to the Player of the Month award for April by fellow Derry man, Michael Duffy, took his season's tally to a magnificent 12 goals with a 37th minute penalty kick and a superb finish from 20 yards with three minutes to go which sealed three important points for the Foyelsiders.
And his performance was hailed by Shiels afterwards who hopes his side's first league win in five attempts will mark the end of Derry's 'mini-blip'.
"We were waiting for that second goal because they were sporadically threatening us and offering little niblets of half chances and you're always thinking one of those will go in," said Shiels. "We needed that security of the second goal and Aaron stepped up to the plate again. A fantastic player who's having a fantastic season and it's great to see it happen."
While Shiels was happy to see his side bounce back from the 5-2 defeat to St Pat's at Richmond Park last Friday night, the City supremo admitted better opponents would've hurt his team.
"When you win with a clean sheet you have to be happy from that perspective but there were components within the game which need to improve. No disrespect to Bray but different opponents could've hurt us tonight because we concede possession in a very easy fashion at times. We look to set high standards and I thought we were just a little bit behind that which is understandable having lost to St Pat's at the weekend.
"It was good because it was such a pivotal game for us. Having lost down there it put us on a negative momentum. Hopefully that is us bouncing back. The first goal was a pivotal moment because it's always going to relax the nervous tension that comes from being in a game when it's tight and you're at home and expected to win.
I asked the boys before the game to give us some energy and I thought we were okay. Our passing when in possession wasn't the best. There was unforced errors today compared to what we had been playing like we've hit that mini blip but we'll get confidence from tonight's game for the Waterford game - I hope."