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Back problems are a real pain for Shiels ahead of double-header

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City have a defensive crisis ahead of tonight's game at Finn Harps, with just one recognised defender fully fit to play.

With two games over three days this weekend, the defensive woes could not have come at a worse time for City boss Kenny Shiels who has admitted that he is attempting to bring in defensive cover to help ease the burden at the Brandywell.

Ryan McBride and Aaron Barry, who both missed last week's draw with St Patrick's Athletic at the Brandywell, are both set to miss out again, while Dean Jarvis and Conor McDermott failed to finish training earlier this week. With Patrick McClean also ruled out with an ankle injury, Shiels has next to no cover available.

"It just seems to be hitting us in the one area of the team," he said. "We changed the routine this week to give us a wee bit more rest."

City face Cork City on Monday but first up for Derry is Harps, and a return to the scene of Shiels' first defeat as City manager back in March.

That night was an inauspicious start to the season for Derry, on a miserable night for those in red and white.

"There was a bad feeling after the game," Shiels recalls. "You never feel great after a defeat and this one was accelerated because of the whole ambience of a local derby."

Harps have taken four points from two games against their great rivals this season and Shiels admitted that his players are determined to get one over their great rivals this time around.

"The players are all prepared to go and have a good bash at it," he explained. "They play their best football of the season against us; we've seen that twice this season and it being a local derby, our boys know that they have to do better."

With so little defensive cover, Shiels may well opt to once again use midfielder Harry Monaghan as a makeshift centre-back for this evening's encounter in Ballybofey.

Belfast Telegraph


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