“There is certainly no defeatist or downbeat attitude here," - insists Derry City boss Declan Devine

Declan Devine insists he isn’t pushing any panic buttons just yet and remains confident his Derry City squad can start climbing the Premier Division table.

By Kevin McLaughlin
Thursday, 15th April 2021, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 5:46 pm
Defender Darren Cole misses tomorrow night’s clash against Drogheda United with a back problem.
Defender Darren Cole misses tomorrow night’s clash against Drogheda United with a back problem.

The Brandywell men currently sit bottom, still searching for their first point ahead of tomorrow night’s home clash against Drogheda United but Devine has complete faith in his players.

“Last year Sligo, in an 18 game season, lost their opening four games of the season and still qualified for Europe. We have 32 games left so there’s no panic button getting set here,” insisted Devine.

“I’m 26 years in the professional game and I believe in everything I’m doing and the people around me tell me they believe in what I’m doing.

“There is certainly no defeatist or downbeat attitude here. We are determined that we are going to get this place up and going and I’m really, really happy with what I have at my disposal. I have no doubt it’s only a matter of time until we are up and running.

“We aren’t that far away. We took on the champions, Shamrock Rovers, who haven’t lost a league game since September 2019, went toe to toe with them on Tuesday night, but look there’s no doubt that we are hurting because of our points tally.

“We believe that there’s more in us. We believe that there are players here that are going to turn this around. I believe in them and, yes, we have to get better but there’s a long, long road ahead. I would be the first one to hold my hands up if I wasn’t getting anything out them. I’m long enough in the tooth to say, ‘Look, it’s not working’ but I genuinely believe when I come into work every day that my staff and I are helping these young players to get better. There’s a real good feeling amongst us.

“We all get on great and we are all working extremely hard to get results turned around.”

The Drogs enjoyed a superb victory at Longford Town last weekend, winning 4-0 at Bishopsgate with striker Mark Doyle helping himself to a brace and Devine knows Tim Clancy’s side come to the Brandywell full of confidence.

“We spoke about them today (Thursday). We did our video analysis and we showed them what we see as their strengths and weaknesses,” he added.

“They have signed very well and Tim is a fantastic up and coming manager. He has done a brilliant job to get them into the Premier Division and have a competitive start to the season.

“I was down and saw them against St Pat’s recently and they had a chance in the 89th minute to beat Pats before Pats went up the pitch to score the winner. There was nothing in the game so we are under no illusions, it’s going to be tough but we are playing at the Brandywell and we have to make sure that we go and put a performance in.”

The Derry manager admits this evening’s home clash, which will be live on RTE 2, is a crunch game but he had a spring in his step at training on Thursday and was looking forward to the match.

“They’re all big games and, yes, there’s a bit of doom and gloom around the place at the minute but it’s not coming from me, the players, my coaching staff, the backing people or the board. Everything is positive here, you only have to hear the energy that’s about on a daily basis at training,” he stated.

“The players are brilliant lads to work with. They are really, really good lads and they believe in themselves and in what we are trying to do here. We know that the four results have gone against us and it’s not where we want to be but we also have to understand that there were 11 local lads that played against Shamrock Rovers at one stage of the game on Tuesday evening.

“That’s what we wanted. We want to evolve, we want to develop and bring players through that are going to have a brilliant future in the game. Some of the young lads who came on the other night were brilliant but we also have to understand that we have to win football games.”

The Candy Stripes will again be without defender Darren Cole who has suffered a set-back with a back problem while Manchester City loanee, Joe Hodge is still doing rehabilitation in Manchester.

“We are working off the same panel from the Shamrock Rovers game on Tuesday night. Obviously Joe Hodge is a huge loss to us and has been all season. Darren Cole is away from scan again today (Thursday). He just wasn’t ready to play against Rovers and he had a small set-back,” he explained. “As I said, we are working off the same panel, which I’m happy with.

“We had a good performance against the champions in our previous game but, look, we have to try and get a win to make sure that we get up and running come Friday night.”