Football/Soccer

Derry City boss Declan Devine: Hectic schedule for team but it brings opportunities for players

Derry City manager Declan Devine and assistant Kevin Deery on the line against Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday April 26 2019. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus Crudden

DERRY CITY travel to Sligo Rovers tonight, to play their first of five games in the space of just 13 days.

Because of the forthcoming fixtures boss Declan Devine has warned his players that they need to be ready to go when they get their chance.

City's clash at the Showgrounds this evening is also the first of three derbies, as Finn Harps make the trip to the Brandywell twice this month and Devine feels this encounter is going to be a tough test as Liam Buckley's men have started to improve.

In fact in recent weeks 'The Bit O'Red' are unbeaten in the last five games and also have defeated the likes of champions Dundalk and title contenders Shamrock Rovers at home.

“It's a derby and it's the first game in a very hectic schedule coming our way.

“We can only do what we can do and that's set our team up and play on the front foot,” insisted Devine.

“Sligo are coming into the game confident but we're coming in confident as well.

“We are a good side and we are in a good position in the league, so it's all made for a brilliant game.

“It's great to have so many big derby games coming up.

“The players came here to play in big games and they'll certainly be involved in big ones over the coming weeks.

“We are going to need our squad - we'll need everybody.

“There are players who haven't played a lot, but they are going to be required to step up and play over the coming weeks.

“We lead into a hectic month but, at the same time, it's a month that can be defining in our season.”

Defender Patrick McClean misses the chance to face his old club tonight, because of a thigh problem, however Devine is happy to report the rest of his squad is fit and raring to go.

“Patrick has picked up a thigh strain. We'll see how he is but I doubt if he'll be involved,” he explained.

“I think he could potentially be out for a week or two. He has had a bit of a problem with that for most of the season and he's a big loss to us.

“Michael McCrudden is the only one who is out long term but hopefully we'll have him back for after the window.

“We go to Sligo with a big squad of 22 players and we'll make sure that we have a freshness about us and an energy about us but also a respect for Sligo because they are in a very good position themselves.”

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