Belfast Telegraph

Shiels eager to put 'sectarian' controversy in past and focus on Cup run

By Eoin Wilson

Kenny Shiels is eager to put the controversy of the past few days behind him by leading his team to victory in tonight's FAI Cup tie against Drogheda United.

The Derry City boss has been in the headlines after his claim that he was the victim of sectarian abuse in the aftermath of his team's league defeat at Cork City last Friday.

While Cork City boss John Caulfield has dismissed the claims, it is believed that the Candystripes have submitted a formal complaint to the FAI about the incident.

Regardless, Shiels is eager to focus on football and has challenged his team to respond by picking up their first home win in three games.

"We would like to do well in this tournament," he said.

"It's not an easy fixture. We haven't won in our last two home games so we want to get back to winning at home and get that edge back again.

"We need to be putting the ball in the back of the net. But our approach play is good so we must continue to do that and come up with the end product.

"Against Cork in the 2-1 win, there were 17 passes in our goal, from the goalkeeper. It was a fantastic goal - the goal of the season I'd say."

The last time the Candystripes reached the FAI Cup final, they defeated Drogheda United on their way to the Aviva Stadium. Due to Drogheda's relegation, and City's promising start to the season, the hosts are big favourites to progress tonight, but Shiels remains wary.

"You can't really say who are the favourites in a cup tie," he said. "It's a bit like the derby match that way. We're playing well at the minute but we just have to start getting a few results again. On the balance of play we should have had six points from the last two games and I don't think any neutral person can say we didn't deserve the full six, certainly against Harps and I thought tactically we did well in Cork.

"We got ourselves in front and I think we looked comfortable, but there were two disappointing decisions from the referee.

"We just have to be mentally strong and overcome these challenges and we will have more big challenges in our next three games."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph