Belfast Telegraph

Candystripes plan to step up a gear after shaky start

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City head to Longford this evening desperate to overcome a shaky start to the new season.

The Candystripes have only managed three wins from 10 league games so far and face Longford (7.30pm) hoping to hit back after last week's smash and grab by Bohemians at the Brandywell.

It has been far from the ideal start for Peter Hutton and his players and as the first series of games come to an end, he expressed his belief that, defeat in Cork aside, Derry have been unlucky not to pick up more points.

"We have been what I hoped we would be, which is competitive, and with the exception of Cork, in which we didn't really put up much of a fight, we have," he explained.

"We definitely didn't deserve to lose against Bohs; we dominated the second half but we got hit by a sucker punch and we just couldn't get the equaliser.

"We certainly should have more points than we have but we can't be all doom and gloom."

Hutton, meanwhile, has insisted that Derry can cope with the loss of Patrick McEleney.

Dismissing suggestions that his team rely too much on the talented number 10, Hutton believes that McEleney's injury will open up the door for someone else to make their mark.

Although McEleney has yet to score this season, he has been the driving force behind each display and already has four assists to his name.

But Hutton insists that McEleney is not the be all and end all for the Candystripes.

"That will be reinforced to the players this week," he said. "We certainly aren't a one-man team and we're not relying on Patrick. We're working off a team ethic and this is an opportunity for someone else to steal the limelight.

"It's a blow to us but someone else can step up to the mark."

Victory for Derry would take them back into sixth place, and Hutton is hoping that his team can discover some consistency in what has been a frustrating season.

"We have to get back to winning ways as soon as possible," he admitted.

"A win can do a lot in terms of pushing you up the table as well as building confidence in the players and giving them a bit of momentum. This season it has been stop-start. We have been hampered by injuries and suspensions already and we don't have the biggest squad."

Belfast Telegraph


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