Derry City aim to home in on success
Derry City's Shane McEleney believes if the Candystripes can get their home form right, they have a great chance of a successful season.
City start their 2013 league campaign with possibly the toughest test, league champions Sligo Rovers visiting the Brandywell tonight.
But the big centre-back, like everyone in the City dressing room, wants to rectify last season's poor home form.
Declan Devine's side last year lost at home to Ian Baraclough's outfit, Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda United, St Pat's, Shelbourne, Cork City and UCD.
Nevertheless, McEleney is raring to go.
"We'll address the home form this year and we'll give it a good go," stated McEleney.
"If our home record was as good as our away record last year we would have been right up there so hopefully we can do a better job at the Brandywell this year.
"We're a fitter team this year and we're a lot stronger and I think we showed that against Drogheda (in the Setanta Cup).
"Drogheda were a lot stronger than us last year but we matched them on Monday and we're just looking forward to getting the season going now with hopefully three points against Sligo."
The young defender feels Derry should take positives from Monday's 1-1 draw with Mick Cooke's men and head into this evening's clash ready to go right from the off.
Last season the Bit o' Red secured three victories over Derry, two in the league and one in the EA Sports League Cup.
In fact on two occasions they scored four times with Davy McDaid the only City player to get on the scoresheet in those matches, so McEleney and co know how tough it's going to be to get anything this evening.
"There were positives and negatives. I thought in the pre-season games we were a bit flat but I thought we started well against Drogheda and the football that we were playing was more fluent in the first half," he said.
"But it's only half-time now in the tie and hopefully we can sneak a win down there, but it's a tough place to go and get a result.
"However we are only concentrating on our next game – that's our first league match of the season against the champions Sligo.
"They are also a great footballing side but that could suit us because they let you play at times.
"But we're just looking forward to it now and hopefully we can get a good home run going and get the three points."
Derry will be without Dermot McCaffrey and Kevin Deery through suspension, while Paddy Kavanagh and Sean Houston miss out with hamstring and ankle problems respectively.
On the plus side experienced midfielder Barry Molloy is available after he missed Monday's Setanta Sports Cup encounter with Drogheda through suspension.
Both Ryan McBride and Rory Patterson picked up knocks – calf and ankle respectively – on Monday night, however the pair are likely to be fit to start.
Fixtures: Premier Division (7.45pm): Derry City v Sligo Rovers; Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers; Bohemians v UCD; Bray Wanderers v Shelbourne; St Patrick's Athletic v Drogheda United. Sunday (5.05pm): Limerick v Cork City.