Derry City boss Peter Hutton targets happy anniversary
On current form it looks unlikely, but Peter Hutton is hoping to celebrate one year in charge of Derry City with a victory over champions Dundalk this evening.
Hutton took over from Roddy Collins a year ago this week and began his managerial tenure at his home town club a little sooner than he might have expected.
The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster for Hutton and his team.
While there have been the highs of the Europa League games against Aberystwyth and an FAI Cup final appearance, there have also been disappointments, with City's league form since the end of last season one of the poorest in the Premier Division. The year has flown by and Hutton admitted there have been some memorable moments.
"It's been a very mixed bag," he said. "There's been some very good points and some low points, but that's the nature of football. When I came in last year I tried to instil a bit of confidence in them and a bit of belief back in some of them as well as getting them fitter.
"We did that to an extent, but our league campaign tailed off because we prioritised the cup.
"That didn't help because our league performances went down. We were down a few bodies also because we had released a few players.
"It has been well documented this season again that restrictions have been put upon the squad and I think we have been very unlucky in terms of injuries and suspensions thus far.
"We've missed some of our bigger players and not once have we had a full quota to choose from.
"That's unfortunate, but you just have to get on with what hand is dealt so you can't be making excuses."
Hutton and his players have the unenviable task of ending their poor run of form against rampant champions Dundalk, who have dropped just four points all season.
"Nobody will give us a chance if you look at their last game and our last game," he explained.
"All the critics will be out waiting to pounce again, but that's part and parcel of the challenge and if I was a player and I was in this position I couldn't wait; I'd be chomping at the bit to get at Dundalk.
"It's massive challenge, but let's take them on."