Belfast Telegraph

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Shiels turns up the heat on officials


By Eoin Wilson

Derry City will have to overcome the odds if they are to go into the mid-season break on a high as they welcome Dundalk to the Brandywell tonight.

Kenny Shiels' team are in desperate need of a break after a run of form that has brought just two league wins in nine games.

The Candystripes got back to winning ways against Bohemians last week, but with seven players already leaving the club this season, Shiels is struggling for numbers.

He has promised that four new players, including son Dean, will arrive soon, but Derry must do without against a Dundalk team at the top of the table.

The Lilywhites won 4-1 on their visit to the Brandywell last month and Shiels admits his team face a tough task tonight.

"Dundalk beat us well and we can't overlook that," he said. "We also can't overlook the fact that they are magnificent at managing the game. They manage the officials, they manage every decision and they don't get players booked.

"They are far more streetwise than us, and they will rally around a referee when a player gets fouled. They manage the match; they are artists at it."

Despite his reservations, Shiels is counting on his own players to stand up and be counted rather than rely on the official or luck.

"People say that decisions against you balance themselves out, but they don't," he added.

"Our lads don't know how to dive. Dundalk are the artists of the league in terms of managing the officials. They are brilliant at that and you have to give them credit. Even though it may not be morally correct they do that because they want to win."

Rory Patterson, Jamie McDonagh and Gavin Peers are regarded as highly doubtful for tonight, and with Ronan Curtis no longer at the club, Shiels has concerns about his team's ability to defend set-plays, something which cost them in their last game against Dundalk.

Derry City vs Dundalk

SSE Airtricity Premier Division

Brandywell, Tonight, 7.45pm

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