SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: St Patrick’s Athletic v Derry City (Friday, 7.45pm)
DERRY City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins feels new signing Ollie O’Neill will get ‘fans out of their seats’.
The 20-year-old Republic of Ireland U21 winger has joined the Brandywell club on loan until the summer from Premier League side Fulham and Higgins feels he brings more attacking options to his squad.
O’Neill – along with fellow new recruits Ben Doherty, Adam O’Reilly and Matt Ward – is expected to be in the City squad for Friday night’s league opener away to St Patrick’s Athletic, and Higgins can’t wait to unleash him on the Airtricity League
“I’m delighted to get Ollie, as he’s a player that we’ve been aware of for a while now,” said the Derry boss of O’Neill.
“He’s an U21 international who has bags of talent and he just wants to get his teeth into senior football and we’ll certainly give him the platform to come here and express himself.
“I think he’s been eager to get out and what really impressed me about Ollie was the amount of research and homework he did on us. He seemed to know as much about us as what I do, which is great.
“He’s a highly intelligent young man as well, but we brought him here because of his talent and he’ll get our supporters off their seats.”
The Derry boss wants his players to take the game to Saints and hopes their good run of recent results at Inchicore continues.
Last season, the Candystripes secured two victories at Richmond Park and Higgins would love another positive result on Friday.
“It’s a huge game, but I think our performances at Inchicore last year were exceptional and if you were to offer me the same result then I’m going to take it,” said the Limavady man.
“We’re going to go down there not to contain and not to sit in, we’re going to go there and have a right go and see where it takes us.
“That’s the way we want to play, we want to play on the front foot and I think regardless of results last year, I think we always attack games and that’s the way we’ll continue to go forward.
“We want to play high energy and high tempo games and try to score goals, create chances but also have that discipline defensively.”
City will travel to Dublin without midfield duo Cameron Dummigan and Sadou Diallo because of injury and suspension respectively, although Patrick McEleney and Cameron McJannet should return to the squad after missing last week’s President’s Cup success over Shamrock Rovers.
Elsewhere in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, Cork City make a welcome return to the top flight when they face Declan Devine’s Bohemians at Turners Cross, while Dundalk entertain UCD.
Drogheda United travel to Shelbourne, while champions Shamrock Rovers begin their defence at Sligo Rovers on Saturday.
In the First Division, newcomers Kerry host Cobh Ramblers, title favourites Waterford make the trip to Wexford, Treaty United have home advantage over Bray Wanderers and tomorrow evening Longford Town face Athlone Town at Bishopsgate.