Football/Soccer

Derry City game with Galway a 'six-pointer' - Kenny Shiels

Paddy McCourt may be on his way back to Derry City  
Seamus Crudden

DERRY CITY manager Kenny Shiels believes Friday's league game at Galway United is a "six-pointer".

Shiels feels his team, along with Tommy Dunne's side and Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic and Sligo Rovers, are all fighting for third spot in the Airtricity League Premier Division. At the minute, the Candystripes sit two points ahead of Shamrock Rovers in third spot and Shiels believes victory at Eamonn Deacy Park would be a perfect send-off going into the three week mid-season break.

"It's a pivotal game for us because, at the moment, there are five teams fighting for that third spot," he said.

"Rovers, Galway, St Pat's, ourselves and you can put Sligo in that category as well, they are starting to push on with all their English players. If you look at it realistically, I think there's one position from five and it would be great to be in the mix for it come the end of the season and, if we could get near to that, it would be fantastic. With Galway one of those teams fighting for that place, I feel it's a six-pointer for us and we would really love to win that game as it would put us in a very good position."

At the minute, Derry are six points ahead of Friday night's opponents and Shiels would love to increase that to nine points, but he knows the Tribes men will be up for the game: "If we could get ourselves in a position where we win the game, then it would put us quite a bit ahead of Galway," he added.

"We will have to fight to the end if we want to win the match."

City welcome back top scorer Rory Patterson, but trio Barry McNamee, Harry Monaghan and Gareth McGlynn all miss out. Shiels also confirmed he has held preliminary talks with fan favourite Paddy McCourt.

The Northern Ireland international is returning home for personal reasons after leaving League Two side Luton Town by mutual consent: "We’ve just spoken with Paddy McCourt. We’ve spoken over the phone, but Paddy has a few personal problems he has to deal with first, so we’re not going to do anything until he’s ready," Shiels said.

"Paddy has personal family commitments to deal with first before he can think about further talks about joining Derry City and we have to respect that. I don’t want to pester him on football matters at the moment. His family is his priority. We will speak further towards the middle of June and we’ll have further discussions then. He can’t play until July, so we’ll not be pushing him on it. That’s as far as it’s gone at the moment."

On the field on Friday, the match of the night takes place at Turners' Cross, with title-chasing Cork City hosting champions Dundalk in front of the Setanta cameras. There's a Dublin derby at Richmond Park, where under pressure managers Liam Buckley and Pat Fenlon come up against each other, with St Patrick's Athletic hosting Shamrock Rovers. Finn Harps take on in-form Sligo Rovers at Ballybofey, the bottom two meet at the Carlisle Grounds, with Bray Wanderers taking on bottom side Longford Town and Bohemians travel to Wexford Youths.

In the First Division, Shelbourne make the trip to UCD and Waterford United host Athlone Town, while on Saturday night, Cobh Ramblers have home advantage over Cabinteely and leaders Limerick face Drogheda United at Markets Field.

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