Belfast Telegraph

Devine says he can lead Derry back to the top

By Eoin Wilson

Declan Devine has insisted that he is the man to lead Derry City back to the top of Irish football.

The Candy Stripes manager came face to face with dissatisfied fans on Thursday night at a specially arranged question and answer session between the supporters, the club's Board of Directors and players Ruaidhri Higgins and Rory Patterson.

City's season is in a spectacular decline at present with City dropping from first place in the Airtricity Premier Division in May to fourth, twelve points behind league leaders St. Patrick's Athletic in September. City have lost six from their past eight league games, and have also been eliminated from the EA Sports League Cup and the Europa League.

The FAI Cup remains the Candy Stripes only remaining hope of a trophy this season, but City face a quarter-final tie at Sligo Rovers next Sunday, a team they have failed to beat in eleven games.

City were due to be back in action this evening at the Brandywell against Shelbourne, but the club's request for the game to be postponed was granted after international call-ups for Michael Duffy and Barry McNamee.

Duffy received a call-up to the Northern Ireland U21s while McNamee was called up by the Republic of Ireland U21s who play Germany in Sligo on Monday.

Another defeat to Sligo next weekend would be disastrous for Derry but manager Devine assured fans that he remains fully committed to bringing success to the Brandywell.

"If I didn't think I could do this job, I would go to the chairman and tell him to get me out of here," Devine admitted. "No one wants to end the 16-year wait for a league title more than me.

"We have a very young squad, with the majority of players being under 24 years of age. "Shane and Patrick McEleney, one 22 years old and one 20 years old, have both played 150 games for Derry City. But they are going to make mistakes, they are going to have a dip in form and the last thing they need is abuse. They need support."

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