Belfast Telegraph

Shiels calls for focus as Candystripes aim to lift gloom

 

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City are aiming for their first win in five league games when they face Limerick at Maginn Park tonight (7.45pm). The Candystripes stopped a run of four successive defeats with a draw at Sligo Rovers on Saturday, but manager Kenny Shiels and his players are eager to get back to winning ways after a difficult month at the club.

Derry are also attempting to avoid a third consecutive defeat at home. Three games at Maginn Park in the next two weeks does present them with an opportunity to gain some ground on the teams above them in the Premier Division, but Shiels is not prepared to look at the possibility of nine points from a possible nine.

"If we start thinking like that we forget about individualising them," he said. "We have to make sure we win our next game which is Limerick and that would be a great boost for us all. It gives us the catalyst and the inner belief to go on and start winning."

Meanwhile, Derry's goal hero in Sligo, Conor McDermott, has revealed that he and his team-mates have tried to focus on footballing matters in recent weeks.

The defender, whose deflected shot against Sligo on Saturday earned Derry their first league point in over a month, admitted that while the past month has been difficult after the death of captain Ryan McBride, the players have tried to put off-field matters to the back of their minds, something that has been far from easy to do.

"It has been tough but we have tried to eliminate that and just focus on the games," he said. "We don't think we're playing badly, we're just getting unlucky."

Derry and Limerick are attempting to play tonight's fixture at the third time of asking. The game, originally on March 3, was abandoned due to floodlight failure, while the rescheduled game on March 21 was postponed following the death of McBride.

Limerick manager Martin Russell has been sacked since and McDermott feels this is a game which can be won.

"They started off very well with a few wins," he recalled. "In that game we started slowly and they got their goal but again we kicked on and we were actually on top before the lights went out so hopefully we can continue that and go and beat them and go on and get a run together."

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