Derry City v UCD – Fri 15th Feb – KO 7.45pm – Brandywell
SSE Airtricity League
Match Sponsor: Peak Environmental
Declan Devine gets his second spell in charge underway tonight when his new look City side take on last year’s First Division winners, UCD.
Devine has been boosted by the news that an agreement has been reached between Institute and Derry City to allow Michael McCrudden to move to Brandywell immediately. Assuming international clearance is received, the front man will be available for selection for the squad tonight. Having already bagged 19 goals in the Irish League Premier Divison since the start of the season, McCrudden will be a big boost to the City front line.
City have lost players who contributed 94% of their goals last season with the departures of Curtis, Patterson and McEneff over the last year and will be keen to replace these with goals from some of the new faces. David Parkhouse grabbed a hat trick in pre-season against Ballinamallard and is a player that Devine knows well from his time with the Northern Ireland underage set up.
Barry McNamee will also look to provide goals from the midfield, with the new captain providing ten from the middle of the park in 2017 before his move to Leeside. He is likely to be joined in the engine room by Ciaron Harkin and Greg Sloggett. It will be a change in colours for Sloggett who was an integral part of Collie O’Neill’s side last season before making the move to Foyleside.
At the Back
At the back City have experimented with both a back three or back four during pre-season and the manager wasn’t giving much away when he spoke to the media yesterday. What we do know is that there will be a new era in the goalkeeping department with Gerard Doherty departing after a decade at Brandywell. Across the defence there are plenty of new faces with the likes of Josh Kerr and Ciaran Coll, and the return of Patrick McClean.
The Manager Speaks
With the opening fixture fast approach, the boss was in positive mode.
“There has been a good edge to training this week but that is only natural and we have to embrace that and look forward”
“Every team in the country has young players and we have brought a new level of player and a new age profile. We have to gain experience as quick as we can, and the backroom staff have a role to play in that.”
The manager once again asked the Derry public to come out and show their support for his new look team on Friday night:
“The supporters have a role to play, there will be mistakes and we all have a role to play in pulling these young players through.”
Speaking at the launch of the League this week, the City boss pointed out that this may take some time as he side finished 8th last year and the sides below them both being relegated, that points that the Candystripes were the weakest side left in the top flight.
In terms of injuries, the manager confirmed:
“Everybody is raring to go, Evan Tweed is the only one carrying a knock and everyone is chomping at the bit to get going”
On match day from 7pm, tickets will be on sale from Long Tower Youth Club which can be accessed from the stadium car park.
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