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Bradley to branch out with Derry after Euro safari

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver is adopting a wait and see attitude to Eoin Bradley's involvement in Glenavon's Europa League first qualifying round second leg tie against Shakhtyor Soligorsk in Belarus tonight.

The Glenavon party is not due to touch down in Dublin after their return journey until teatime tomorrow, less than 24 hours before Derry face Wexford in a vital All-Ireland football qualifier.

It's a match that Derry boss McIver is desperately keen to win particularly in the wake of last year's ignominious exit from the qualifiers when the Oak Leaf side fell to lowly Longford by 2-16 to 2-14.

McIver, already tasked with restructuring his half-back line since Kevin Johnston and Ciaran McFaul are ruled out with injuries - indeed both could be out for lengthy spells - simply cannot afford to lose any more players.

But whether he will consent to give Bradley game time so soon after a European adventure remains to be seen.

"This situation cropped up during the course of the Allianz League when Eoin was not available to us and we had to manage without him," points out McIver.

"It is a matter for the player himself to decide what he wants to do.

"All I know is that we are facing a Wexford side that will be coming to us having been heartened by their win over Down in the last round of the qualifiers and as such will be formidable opponents," McIver warned.

Derry, who were relegated in the league, beat Down in the Ulster Championship quarter-final before falling to current provincial champions Donegal in the semi-finals by 1-9 to 0-10.

Bradley played as a substitute in Derry's last match in the league when they beat Cork and then turned out at full-forward in the Ulster Championship against Down when he displayed considerable hunger and enthusiasm.

But in the subsequent defeat to Donegal he was replaced by Neil Loughlins in the 61st minute.

However, his experience and predatory skills would certainly prove useful assets against Wexford who have slumped into Division Four.

Belfast Telegraph


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