Patching's successful six month loan spell on Foyleside officially ends this week and Perth felt Derry badly missed their star man in the 2-1 loss to Dundalk last Friday night.
Perth, who is seeking a third consecutive league win since returning to the Dundalk hotseat, says he will find a way to integrate Patching into his team.
”Stylistically we need to look at it," said Perth. "We’ve lost Chris (Shields) as a midfielder. When myself and Ruaidhri scouted Will, we knew there was a player there. We looked at his history and spoke to people at Man City. He needed games and needed fitness levels and he’s got that to be fair.
“I’ve watched him live three games and he’s been outstanding. He was a big loss for Derry tonight. I’ve got to look after Dundalk Football Club and he’s one of the best players in the league and I’ve got to get him back.”
While Higgins must find a way to replace the goals and assists Patching brought to his team, Perth has full belief in his former assistant who he believes has already been ‘working his magic’ at Brandywell.
Ultimately Perth came out on the winning side when the two teams met last Friday but the Dundalk boss was impressed with Higgins’ half-time tactical switch to a 3-5-2 formation which caused no end of problems for the home side.
“I must give Derry huge credit,” said Perth. “Obviously Ruaidhri knows us inside out. He changed it and knew where to hurt us a bit. It took us a while. We did prepare for Derry playing in a three but I thought Derry really put us under pressure with their switch. I think in modern day coaching you have to come up with different systems and different styles of play,” he continued.
“When Derry switched to a back three it took us a while to adapt to that. I like the back three, the sort of Chelsea formation where they play with the two number 10s. Michael Duffy is one of our best players and we probably need to play with a left winger. We need to utilise the best players we have and that’s probably by playing a 4-3-3 at the moment but I don’t think the squad is set up for that just yet.”
Having won the league and cup ‘double’ during his first stint as Dundalk manager with Higgins a crucial part of that success, Perth isn’t surprised with the improvements being made at Brandywell.
“Look, I knew I was going to have it tough with Ruaidhri given what he did at this club and what he did for me. If you’re going to be a championship winning manager you’re going to need championship winning staff and Ruaidhri is certainly that.
“When they played up in Dalymount Park I celebrated their winner that night with some of their staff and players because that’s the respect I have for Ruaidhri. The same was true up in United Park. I’ve watched a lot of Derry this year and there’s been a huge improvement.
“To be fair to Declan Devine he’s given him the tools to do it and Ruaidhri has certainly worked his magic up there. Hopefully the signs are good for both clubs. I think the League of Ireland needs strong clubs from outside of Dublin as well, provincial clubs and I know the history of Derry very, very well. The link between Jim McLaughlin, my hero in the game, is obviously very strong. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards for both clubs.”