Belfast Telegraph

We've learnt our lesson for visit of St Pat's: Hutton

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City's woeful record against the top four in the Premier Division can come to an end tonight with victory over St. Patrick's Athletic at the Brandywell (7.45pm).

The champions come to town needing a win to resuscitate their fading title hopes, but the Candystripes need a win just as badly, for entirely different reasons.

In 10 games against Dundalk, Cork City, St. Patrick's Athletic and Shamrock Rovers this season, Derry have lost an incredible seven times, and have only managed to draw the other three.

They have been denied wins over both Rovers and Dundalk due to last gasp equalisers while the best they could manage against this evening's opponents was a 0-0 draw earlier in the season.

The last time Derry and Pat's met back in May, Peter Hutton suffered his worst league defeat as a manager as the Inchicore side rolled out as comfortable 5-2 winners.

But ahead of tonight's game, Hutton insists that result is now ancient history as 'Pa's' will face a much more durable and confident Derry City team.

"That game is long gone to be quite honest," he said.

"If you look back on the goals, we gifted them every one of the goals.

"We were very naive, trying to play in the wrong areas.

"Myself and Marty were only in the door and we were trying to get them play football, but if anything they took us literally and tried to play in the wrong areas and gifted them the goals.

"I don't think that's going to be the case any more.

"We've learnt a lot from then. We know it's going to be a difficult tie because they are still in the hunt in the league but we'll certainly be up for the game."

Hutton is also dismissive of that record against the biggest teams in the division, insisting that statistics can paint an inaccurate picture of certain situations.

"It's just individual games," he continued.

"Records are there to be broken, but we won't be dwelling on that at all.

"You can take what you want from stats at times, and they can be very misleading, but we're just taking each game as it comes and we'll take each game on its merits."

Pat's are currently 11 points behind league leaders Dundalk with games running out thick and fast but Hutton disagreed with suggestions that the champions have been weaker this term.

"Results would suggest that as would their position in the table but they have an unbelievable squad," he explained.

"If anything, they have a stronger squad than last year.

"Sometimes you need a bit of luck and injuries can play their part but they are still formidable and they will still be up there challenging."

Hutton is unlikely to take a chance on striker Rory Patterson this evening, as the Strabane man continues to struggle with a back injury.

Patrick McEleney has played up front in City's last two games, and has scored against both Malahide United and Limerick, meaning he is likely to get the nod again.

Cliff Byrne and Danny Ventre remain sidelined.

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