Peter Hutton refuses to let Derry's European dream die
Derry City face Limerick this evening hoping to break a run of three consecutive Airtricity League defeats. Peter Hutton has seen his team's chances of qualifying for Europe all but disappear after defeats against Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Drogheda United.
The Candystripes can still claim a European place with FAI Cup success and they made the quarter-finals with their weekend win over Malahide United.
However, Hutton also wants an improvement in the league, beginning with tonight's game at Thomond Park.
"Limerick are on a great run. Martin Russell has come in and rejuvenated them," said Hutton.
"He has made some very good signings and Rory Gaffney is scoring goals for fun at the minute."
The win over Malahide kept the Candystripes' season alive, even if the performance was not to Hutton's satisfaction.
"It was important to break that cycle of defeats, but I wasn't overjoyed with the performance," he said.
"We played well in spurts, but I'm disappointed we weren't more clinical.
"We need to learn better habits irrespective of who you're playing because you have to take your chances, but I'm delighted to be in the hat for the next round."
Cliff Byrne and Danny Ventre are ruled out tonight through injury and striker Rory Patterson is a major doubt as he continues to struggle with a back injury. There are concerns also over Philip Lowry and Mark Timlin.
Barry Molloy meanwhile insists that the Derry players have to treat their remaining league games as importantly as their FAI Cup campaign in order to keep morale high in the final third of the season.
"We were on a great run of form beforehand, but we've lost three games on the trot which we're very disappointed with, now that's the start of another run hopefully," he said.
"We'll look to take that into Monday's game at Limerick and hopefully winning will breed confidence."