'Time for us to produce the goods' - states Derry City's assistant manager Alan Reynolds
Assistant manager Alan Reynolds says Derry City have a chance to lay down marker when champions Shamrock Rovers arrive at a completely sold out Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight (KO 7.45pm)
Reynolds believes the hugely anticipated encounter, which will be shown live on RTE 2, is a the perfect time for all the talk about Derry being title contenders to end and for the Candy Stripes to show people what they are all about this season.
“The talking has to stop, it’s time for us to go and produce the goods and show how good we are,” insisted the former Waterford boss.
“The league isn’t going to be won or lost on Friday night but still, you have got to go and if you want to call it ‘set down a marker’, we just have to put in a really good performance.
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“Last Friday was difficult with the weather, Stephen O’Donnell’s first game as manager and we responded well going behind a couple of times so, look, all the talking has stopped now, we just have to be ready for Rovers.
“As I said, nothing would be decided on Friday night but if you win then the confidence and stuff like will be good but, listen, we have to keep working. I obviously think it’s going to take time for us to find our way.
“We have got six or seven new players and the sooner we start finding our way the better. The sooner we have the whole squad available the better but in the meantime we have got to win games.”
The 47-year-old also confirmed that Michael Duffy, Matty Smith, Ronan Boyce and Evan McLaughlin are all doubtful for this evening’s game and warned City have to be careful when it comes to managing Patrick McEleney.
The Shantallow native came off the bench at Oriel Park last Friday night but Reynolds stressed that Derry can’t push the talented midfielder too much as he missed quite a bit of last season.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few of the boys back but some of them will probably be another week or so, but look the ones that we have and the ones that maybe are added back in, will give us something extra,” he explained.
“Patrick McEleney is another one. He hasn’t played in months and months so we have got to be careful with him.
“Obviously having been out for so long, if you throw him straight back into it then he might break down and we don’t want that to happen.
“He’s a really good player and a really good fella but I’m sure he’ll be involved on Friday night.”
The Republic of Ireland U21 number two also believes that strong home support will help the Candy Stripes as will an intimidating atmosphere, adding the Brandywell needs to become a ground visiting teams don’t like playing at. Reynolds said though it was important home fans were respectful and did not cross the line.
“The spirit to come back twice at Dundalk was excellent but this time we’ll have 4,000 fans behind us so we have got to feed off that,” he declared.
“I always say that you need that energy and I’m just saying to the fans to make it as hostile as you can. Obviously we don’t want the fans to cross the line, but they can still make it as hostile and intimidating as possible.
“Getting the Brandywell back to the way it used to be when no one liked coming here is crucial and we’ll feed off the atmosphere, but we have to do our stuff to give them something to shout about. That’s our plan. We won’t be sitting off them, we’ll be trying to go and win the game.”