Will Fitzgerald confident misfiring Derry City will rediscover goalscoring touch

WILL FITZGERALD relished the attacking freedom Declan Devine afforded him against Drogheda United and is confident Derry City will soon rediscover their goal scoring touch.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 5:32 pm
Will Fitzgerald gets on the ball during the first half of the 1-1 draw with Drogheda United at Brandywell on Friday night. Photograph by Kevin Moore

The Candy Stripes’ woes in front of goal have been a significant contributing factor to their five game winless run with their only two goals scored by defenders Cameron McJannet and Ronan Boyce, both coming from crosses into the box.

Limerick native Fitzgerald believes it’s only a matter of time before City begin to fire on all cylinders and he’s ready to play his part in providing assists and goals should Declan Devine keep faith in him for the visit of fellow strugglers Dundalk tonight.

“I fully take that responsibility as well,” he said. “I enjoy the pressure of being the person the team looks for to create something, get an assist or a goal. If you look at how incredible Parky (David Parkhouse) was two years ago, he was top scorer and he will come good. He’ll get plenty of goals for us. We have plenty of attacking threats and ‘Patch’ (Will Patching) is just an incredible, beautifully technical player. He will get us playing.

“The two centre halves got the two goals but hopefully we will get on the training pitch and work on the final product. Ever since I’ve come here, from the first day, I’ve been really impressed with the whole set-up. Everyone has made me feel really welcome. I got my chance coming on against Shamrock Rovers and did well.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard on the training ground and impressing Decky in order to keep my spot. I’ve really enjoyed it. He’s given me the freedom to go and express myself and be confident on the ball in a very creative team so I’m really enjoying it. I’m a player who likes to get the ball down and get at defenders and if that excites the fans then I’m delighted about that but hopefully I can improve my play in the final third.”

The former Waterford and Limerick wideman had a chance to give Derry the lead against Drogheda on Friday night when he got onto the end of Will Patching’s searching ball over the top but headed straight into the hands of keeper, Colin McCabe. He felt he should’ve done better with the chance which could’ve changed the outcome of the match but believes the chances will continue to come given the quality of his teammates.

“On another day Patch plays the ball over the top, I take it down on my chest and put it in the back of the net. Maybe it’s just the bounce of the ball that’s going against us at the moment.

“That’s the quality Patch possesses and he shows that every day in training. He has a little saying; ‘You never get tired of keeping the ball’ and he really embodies that in every training session and every game so I know when he gets it on the half turn, I know he’s going to find me. It was just the way it bounced and with the centre-halves closing in on me, I got caught in two minds. On another day I take it down and put it in the back of the net and the result might be different.”

Dundalk have their own problems in front of goal having scored just four in their opening five fixtures while the managerial controversy has overshadowed the build-up to tonight’s crunch clash against two of the league’s most under-performing teams.

Fitzgerald believes the Lilywhites will be anticipating a tough game and after the disappointment of Friday night’s draw with Drogheda, he’s delighted the games are coming thick and fast.

"They will be watching our performance from tonight and know they will come to Brandywell and get a really tough game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very disappointing dressing room but we showed good character.

“I think slowly but surely it’s definitely getting better. Hopefully luck comes our way quite soon and I’m sure it will come good,” added the midfielder.