Derry City boss Higgins has high praise for Galway United managerial duo

Candystripes without McEleney for visit of Tribesmen as skipper faces spell on the sidelines

Will Patching
Derry City Will Patching with David Hurley of Galway United at the Brandywell on Friday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin 29-3-2024 (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )
SSE Airtricity Premier Division: Derry City v Galway United (Friday, 7.45pm)

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins feels he’s coming up against two of the shrewdest men in League of Ireland, as Galway United visit the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday night.

Higgins believes that the Tribesmen’s manager John Caulfield and assistant boss Ollie Horgan know the league inside out and they have assembled a good squad, which he expects will again cause his side problems.

United have already won on Foyleside earlier this year thanks to Stephen Walsh’s late strike.

“We know what to expect,” stated the Derry boss.

“You’ve got Ollie Horgan and John Caulfield. The work that Ollie has done at Harps, I personally feel he gets nowhere near the credit that he deserves for what he’s done there.

“To be honest, they’re two shrewd men, two clever, clever men who have been around the block and know the league inside out and very, very intelligent so it’s been no surprise to me that they’ve found a way of playing and they’re sticking to it and it’s worked for them.

Former Cork City manager John Caulfield led Galway to the First Division title last year
Former Cork City manager John Caulfield led Galway to the First Division title last year (MARGARET McLAUGHLIN PICTURES / COPYRIGHT MCLAUGHLINPRESS.COM)

“Galway are a very, very good side. A lot of the games are low scoring that they’re involved in and they’ve been a real addition to the league.

“They’re well set up, they’re well organised and they’ve some good talented players as well so we know what they expect.

“Hopefully we can repeat the intensity that we showed in the opening stages of the game the other night.

“You know what they’re coming here to do but breaking it down is a different thing, but we’ve players now coming into form and I love the sort of spark that we played with in the first half against Waterford on Monday night.

“There was a freeness, there was a confidence about our play and once we play like that then we know we can cause any team in the country problems.

“Waterford, before we beat them, they were the form team in the league.

“The two promoted clubs, and I think I said it after the game, I feel that both Galway and Waterford are the reason why the league is the way it is this year because normally with promoted teams, you’d see teams taking points off and steady but actually the two promoted clubs have been the reason why the table is the way it is.”

Patrick McEleney is nearing a return for Derry City
Patrick McEleney is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering an elbow injury against Waterford on Monday night

The Candystripes go into Friday evening’s clash without captain Patrick McEleney, after it was confirmed the talented midfielder will be out for a number of months with an elbow injury, which sustained during Monday night’s encounter against Keith Long’s men, much to Higgins’ disappointment.

“We don’t know the timeframe yet,” confirmed Higgins.

“There’s a fracture and a dislocation of his elbow and he’ll need to undergo surgery, which should happen pretty quickly, and we’ll know from the specialist over the next day or two what the plan going forward is.

“I think people that don’t know Patrick see this creative talent on the pitch but no-one wants to be successful at this club more than him.

“He’s got an unbelievable drive, he loves this club, he’s passionate about this club and he comes in every day and when he’s available and fit, he’s first on the training pitch, and last to leave it.