Belfast Telegraph

Shiels is battling a selection headache ahead of key clashes

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City begin a mammoth 72 hours hoping for a positive result against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium this evening.

Kenny Shiels and his players endured immense frustration last week when their debut home game at Maginn Park against Limerick was abandoned after 25 minutes due to floodlight failure.

That means they are already playing catch up on the likes of Rovers, who recorded their first home win of the season against Bohemians last week.

And with league champions Dundalk coming to Buncrana on Monday night, Shiels knows that his players will be up against it.

"Shamrock Rovers are dominant in our thoughts and all of our preparation is for them," he said. "Whatever comes next, we'll focus on that.

"It was so disappointing what happened last week. How can you legislate for that?"

Shiels has a huge problem defensively with both Ben Doherty and Conor McDermott ruled out of both games with injury. With Aaron Barry yet to play a full 90 minutes since returning from injury and Israeli centre-half Alon Netzer yet to kick a ball, Shiels may have to be creative.

"We've lost our two teenage full-backs and it's a hard one to take," he continued. "It's difficult at a time when we are preparing to play some of the top teams."

Derry won 1-0 at Tallaght last season thanks to a header from Rory Patterson, who also misses tonight's game with injury, but Shiels believes that the demands of the crowd may just put an extra bit of pressure on the hosts.

"You have seen the players they have brought in and the quality they have invested in so you have to say those huge investments bring a little bit of pressure," he stated. "They are at home again so I'm sure they will be expecting to win again."

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