Shiels demands better as Derry aim to reclaim third spot
Derry City look set to receive a double defensive boost with the return of both Aaron Barry and Conor McDermott for their game against Bohemians tonight.
The Candystripes are hoping to get back to winning ways after just one win in their last four league games, with the opportunity of moving back into third place in the Premier Division again in their reach.
Derry failed to take advantage of Bray Wanderers' defeat to Cork City last week by losing 2-1 at St Patrick's Athletic, but boss Kenny Shiels is hoping that his team can continue a superb recent record over Bohemians.
"It will be tough," he said. "They are going well. They took Dundalk to the 90th minute and they were unfortunate. They were also unfortunate against Harps. Harps and Bohs are two of the strongest teams in the league at the minute with the size of their squads, so this is a very important game for us.
"In my time we have won six out of six but that makes it harder each time you get the win. You don't usually do that against teams.
"It can help the team going in knowing they have beaten the opponent before, but this is going to be a tough fixture. We must prepare accordingly and make sure that we go there with confidence.
"I wasn't happy with our performance last Friday night. I felt that we short changed ourselves and our supporters."
As disappointed as Shiels was with his team's display last week, he feels that they have been the victims of poor decisions by officials, which he feels has cost them crucial points.
"We can't blame referees for everything, but there were three times last week when we had players in and they pulled us up for offside and they were never offside," he explained. "We have it on video. Ronan Curtis was through in the first 10 seconds to score and they pulled him back for offside but you can see clearly that he's well onside.
"But these are excuses, we just have to look at the end result.
"It happened in Bray as well because Nathan Boyle had a goal disallowed and that would have put us 2-1 up coming from behind, so we're aware of that. It's happening too often."
A new opponent brings a new opportunity for the Candystripes, however, and Shiels is hoping for better this time around.
"If we win this one we'll go third so we can't be negative," he said. "Let's look on the bright side. It's a second opportunity for us. We just have to go and get ready for the next game now.
"We have Aaron Barry and Conor McDermott close to coming back and they could even be back for Friday night. We're pretty close to our first choice defence now."
- Bohemians v Derry City, Airtricity Premier Division: Dalymount Park, Tonight, 7.45pm