Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Cassidy revels in rich options

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

With two rounds of the National Football League left, All Ireland champions Tyrone are still not free of relegation worries.

And they could find themselves in an even more perilous situation should they lose to Derry at Omagh on Saturday night next.

With four points banked to date, the Red Hands are only one better off than both Dublin and Donegal who are immediately below them in the table with pointless Westmeath marooned at the bottom.

“Obviously we have to do something about this,” says Tyrone boss Mickey Harte, “You would have to say that not only is our game against Derry very important but we also have to take on board the fact that the results of some other games next week-end may or may not go in our favour.”

Derry, who have suffered just one defeat to date - their conquerors were Kerry - will travel to Omagh comforted by the fact that they now appear to have rich options at midfield, a sector in which the Red Hands have not been flourishing of late.

Patsy Bradley and Enda Muldoon both turned in fine performances in the Oak Leaf side’s drawn game against Galway on Sunday but when it is considered that captain Fergal Doherty and Joe Diver are also thirsting for action against Tyrone, it can be seen that manager Damian Cassidy is somewhat spoiled for choice when it comes to his enginr-room.

In contrast, the Red Hands were rather laboured at midfield against Donegal last Saturday night, Christy Toye virtually bossing the central area at Ballybofey.

Toye, who tends to blow hot and cold in Donegal’s colours, produced a much higher work-rate than usual alongside the solid Brendan Boyle, effectively putting Tyrone’s Kevin Hughes and Colin Holmes in the shade.

Enda McGinley was pitched into the action in the 53rd minute by Mickey Harte and, assuming he is feeling no after-effects of his recent injury, he looks sure to start against Derry.

And there could even be a starting slot for Brian McGuigan who landed Tyrone’s only second half score against Donegal after having come in as a substitute.

Derry, mobile and inventive right now, have several players prepared to go the extra mile in a bid to cement their places in the team.

And there is absolutely no doubt that manager Cassidy would like to draw first blood in what is his first test against Harte although, shrewd operator that he is, he will doubtlessly be aware that he who laughs last, laughs longest.

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