Belfast Telegraph

Barry McNamee's return will be sweet for Candystripes

 

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City are hoping to have Barry McNamee available for this evening's game against Sligo Rovers as they attempt to end a run of four successive defeats.

Kenny Shiels watched his team crash out of the EA Sports League Cup at Galway United earlier this week, just days after losing to Finn Harps in the league, in which they are fifth.

The Candystripes have in fact failed to win a game since March 18, when they defeated Drogheda United 4-0 in what was the late Ryan McBride's last game.

Despite Monday's 2-0 loss, Shiels believes his team is on the way back, a sentiment shared by young midfielder Ben Doherty.

Doherty, who returned from injury against Harps last week, has reassured fans that the players are more determined than ever to get out of their current rut.

"It's easy for boys to just down tools and start feeling sorry for themselves, but that's not the way the boys are," he said.

"The boys are picking each other up and we'll go again and we're just fighting more for ourselves to try and get a goal.

"It's frustrating in the sense that we're not getting the goals at the minute but there's no frustration between players or between staff. We're all in the same ship."

Sligo have a new manager in place this evening with Gerard Lyttle, who resigned as Cliftonville boss yesterday, confirmed in the post.

The average age of the City team which faced Galway was 21-years-old, and Doherty acknowledged: "You're talking about three massive losses.

"Barry (McNamee) gives you that presence in midfield and he wins the ball back and creates things and Rory (Patterson) gives you your goals obviously, but every other player at the club is trusted to do the job they are given to do.

"No one can doubt the players who played (against Galway). They all did well but they just didn't get the goal that Rory Patterson could have gotten you or Barry McNamee could have created. We created more chances, but that's football. People will get injured and we just have to get on with it at the minute."

Doherty is eager to reclaim his first team place after an injury setback earlier this season. The midfielder started City's first game at Bohemians and only returned for a cameo against Finn Harps last week. He played 80 minutes against Galway and is now looking to make up for lost time.

"It's good to get minutes under the belt, especially after the Bohs match," he admitted.

The pressure is now building on Derry City with each passing game, but Doherty is in no doubt that the tide can turn, beginning with the game at Sligo.

"If we can take how we performed against Galway into Sligo, we can win the game," he insisted.

"Kenny has told us to focus everything towards Sligo now. The main focus is in the league and getting back to where we were. We have our two games in hand coming up so we're not far off."

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