Soccer

Will Patching hopes to continue hot form by helping Derry City advance in Europe

Will Patching was on the scoresheet in Derry City's first leg win over KuPS Kuopio in their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie
Will Patching was on the scoresheet in Derry City's first leg win over KuPS Kuopio in their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie Will Patching was on the scoresheet in Derry City's first leg win over KuPS Kuopio in their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie

 Will Patching hopes he can continue his red-hot form at KuPS Kuopio tomorrow, as Derry City aim to progress into the third qualifying round of the Europa Conference League. 

The Candystripes are 2-1 up from the first leg of their second qualifying round tie with KuPS Kuopio of Finland, a game which featured a rare headed goal from Patching.

The Derry midfielder has netted three goals in City’s last five games and, since returning from a knee injury, he has been in top form.

“I definitely have tunnel vision at the minute,” insisted the 24-year-old.

“Since coming back from my injury it’s probably the best I’ve felt in over a year. My knee is good at the minute and hopefully I can keep putting in performances, keep helping with goals and assists and see where it gets us.

“We have a lot to play for in the league, the FAI Cup and Europe, but we’re just taking one step at time and one game at a time, starting with KuPS on Thursday.”

Read more:

  • Ruaidhrí Higgins knows there's work to do in European tie with KuPS
  • Derry City come from a goal down to take first-leg lead over KuPS
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins
Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins

His manager Ruaidhrí Higgins also believes the talented midfielder is back playing his best.

"Will's definitely back. He's playing really good stuff again. His pressing and intensity out of possession was even more impressive, "Higgins said after last week’s first leg come-from-behind win.

The Stockport native was delighted to score the first ever headed goal of his career and even joked that Higgins may now start putting him in the box for corners.

“I’m not usually in that position to score headers very often, but I saw the ball coming and I just wanted to get it on target and thankfully it went in, it was a strange feeling when it hit the back of the net, as that was my first header I ever scored,” he added.

“Hopefully I can get a few more now, maybe the gaffer will start putting me in the box at corners.

“It was a special night last Thursday, especially as we came from behind, it showed great character from the boys.

“The hunger in the dressing room at half-time was brilliant and now knowing that we’ve something to play for in Finland is great.

"We could have scored a few more goals and that just shows the quality in our team, especially against a quality team like KuPS and people are saying we could have won by more. I think we’ve got to take that comfort into the second leg, over there.

“But yeah, coming from 1-0 down and the game finishing 2-1 in our favour is big for us.

“We know the level of opposition and we know that they’re top players, so we’re always going to be wary, but we’ll go over to Finland with a plan and I’m sure it will be a front foot approach, because it’s what we’re best at and what they couldn’t cope with in the second half.”

Patching conceded that the special Brandywell atmosphere played a big part in last week’s first leg success.

“The fans helped us massively in the first leg, the buzz around the stadium was unbelievable, especially in the second half and they helped us win the game and got us through the second half.

 “When the atmosphere was like this they put a great buzz into the team.”