Hutton says City need to play without their shackles on
DERRY CITY manager Peter Hutton is confident his side can come out of their recent poor form.
The Candystripes, who face Sligo Rovers at the Brandywell on Friday night, have lost their last three games and, more worryingly for Hutton, haven't scored in over 400 minutes.
"We haven't scored in four games, so yes it's a concern," said the City boss.
"We have to take off the shackles and the players have to realise that they need to start taking more responsibility in the final third and take risks because that's what you are going to have to do."
Rovers, themselves, come to the Brandywell in somewhat indifferent form, but they did secure three points with a home win over Drogheda United last week.
In the previous two games at the Showgrounds earlier this season, the sides could not be separated, but Derry did win in extra-time in the EA Sports Cup in their last meeting a few months ago. Because of those matches, Hutton is expecting another close affair on Friday.
"They had a good victory, all be it against a depleted Drogheda squad, but it was a good three points for them," he added.
"They slowly seem to be turning the corner, very similar to ourselves in terms of expectations at the start of the season to be much higher up the table, it hasn't been the case for them, but they are still a good side. They have some quality players in their team and they have one or two of the more experienced players back, which will help them, the likes of Gavin Peers.
But we know that the games previously this season have been very tight, so I expect something similar tonight."
Derry will be without skipper Ryan McBride, who has a hamstring injury, while Philip Lowry, Stephen Dooley and Patrick McEleney remain on the treatment table.
"We certainly don't have our sorrows to seek, we are missing very key offensive players and that doesn't help, but we just have to roll up our sleeves and get on with it, stick together and we will turn the corner," Hutton said.
Elsewhere tonight, second-placed Cork City entertain unbeaten Shamrock Rovers at Turners Cross in what is the match of the night in the Airtricity Premier Division.
Leaders Dundalk have an interesting encounter at an inconsistent St Patrick's Athletic side, while Bohemians will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Trevor Croly's Bray Wanderers team, who had an impressive home win against St Pat's last weekend. Free-scoring Galway United will fancy their chances of picking up another three points when they travel to Drogheda United.
In the First Division, unbeaten table-toppers Finn Harps have home advantage over third-placed UCD. Shelbourne face Waterford United at Tolka Park, Cobh Ramblers visit Stadbrook to take on Cabinteely and Wexford Youths face Athlone Town at Ferrycarrig Park.
On Saturday evening in the Premier Division, Longford Town face winless Limerick at City Calling Stadium.