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Derry City boss Higgins keeping quiet on Patching future after win over Harps

Finn Harps' Barry McNamee with Will Patching and Ciaron Harkin of Derry City at Finn Park, Ballybofey on Friday night. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin 18-6-2021.
By Chris Ashmore

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

DERRY City may be climbing the rungs on the Premier Division league ladder - but how will they fare after star playmaker Will Patching's loan deal expires this month?

Patching brought his tally for the season to six with a brace of goals - one a penalty and the winner a superbly struck free - as the Candystripes beat Finn Harps 2-1 in Friday's north-west derby in Ballybofey.

In February, City announced that Patching had arrived on loan from Dundalk, with the option to become a permanent signing.

But with Vinny Perth back in the Oriel Park hot-seat, what will happen now?

Asked about Patching's future, City boss Ruaidhrí Higgins would only say: “He's been a brilliant player here,” and was giving little else away.

“His loan ends soon, but we will get another game with him, and we will talk about that after Monday.”

Derry host Sligo Rovers this evening after their derby win over Harps on Friday night, courtesy of that match-winning free from Patching. When asked about the goal, Higgins said: “It was a piece of magic, the skill to win the free kick initially was top class. The free itself was an amazing piece of skill.”

Finn Harps boss Ollie Horgan was also singing the praises of the one-time Manchester City Academy player.

“He was the best player on the pitch and deserved to be on the winning side,” Horgan said.

City have now gone seven games unbeaten and are above their Donegal neighbours for the first time this season.

Higgins was “delighted” with the outcome, and felt that it had been “a game full of heart and fight and both teams went to the bitter end.”

“Everyone to a man gave absolutely everything to get the three points,” he said.

However, Horgan was not happy with the awarding of a penalty that resulted in Patching's opener from the spot.

“Let's call a spade a spade. If that's a penalty, then there will be ten penalties in every game,” Horgan remarked.

Overall, Harps had the better of the chances but Derry bagged the points.

Horgan continued: “Derry defended very well and we did not defend as well as them and that is really why they won it and well done to them,” he said.

Worryingly for Harps, Johnny Dunleavy hobbled off in the second half.

The Donegal native has been injury prone throughout his career.

Harps are in action this evening away to St. Patrick's Athletic, and Horgan also has a number of other players nursing injuries.

"We have plenty to think about, " he said.

St Pat's impressed when they defeated Harps in Ballybofey earlier this season and Horgan says his side will have to be at their best it they are to get anything against a team that he rates highly.

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