Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Eircom League: Robertson lays down clear-out challenge

Derry City boss John Robertson has challenged his players to prove to him over the rest of the season that he doesn't have to make wholesale changes over the winter break.

Robertson, however, has said that from what he's seen over the last month or so, everyone at the Brandywell is more than capable.

"With the injuries that we've had over the last few weeks, anyone who's come into the team has done the job that I've asked of them and more," he said.

"We scoring goals and keeping it tight at the back so that tells me that everyone is working hard and doing well.

"Our work-rate against St Pat's last week was sensational.

"The goal is to work towards next season and having a team capable of challenging for the title.

"There's a lot of work left for us to do this season though, with the two cups that we want to defend and to finish as high up the table as we can."

That campaign continues with the trip to play league leaders Drogheda United at United Park this evening, 7.45pm.

They are still odds on to take the Premier Division title, but over the past few weeks have begun to wobble a little under the pressure.

They have been a thorn in Derry's side all season, but in none of their meetings - both domestically and in the Setanta Sports Cup - have they been obviously the better team and have shaded a couple by just the odd goal.

Derry are a much different outfit from the last time they met and even without several key players, tonight's will be an interesting game.

Paddy McCourt is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness as is Mark McChrystal while Kevin Deery is suspended after picking up a booking last week.

Sammy Morrow is ready to come back into the squad after training in midweek, although he may start on the bench.

Robertson was also happy to announce that the first eight candidates for their new youth set-up have been decided on.

"They will be able to train on a much more full-tome basis in the mornings and have a full-time education in the afternoons," he said.

"We need to work to keep the talent here from going to England and Scotland and this is a great way of going about that.

"The local schools have been great to work with and made life a lot easier although funding for development officers is still an ongoing issue.

"We aim in the end to have 16 places available, but this is a good start."

Meanwhile the club yesterday launched their new Silver Club membership scheme to help keep the club on a sound financial footing and work towards the cost of the new Brandywell stadium.

It's aimed at local businesses and is limited to 25 members who will invest £10,000 each for five years. Already six of the places have been taken up.

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