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Stephen Kenny rolls out the big guns for Derry's shot at Cup glory

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Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny

Derry City are going all out to complete the first leg of what would be an historic cup double for the club in tonight's EA Sports League Cup final in Cork.

Manager Stephen Kenny is leaving as little to chance as possible by fielding as strong a team as possible for the decider against Cork City at Turner's Cross.

That's going to be tough on some of the reserve team players who were responsible for taking the club to tonight's decider and who were celebrating the A Championship success last Friday night at the Brandywell when they beat UCD 3-2 in the final.

But as a one-off occasion and no league match until they face Bray on Friday night, Kenny is turning to his big guns as they target a record tenth win in the competition.

Club captain Kevin Deery will lead out an almost full-strength side in Dublin with just a few injury worries for Kenny ahead of kick-off.

"Kevin was injured when we won the First Division at Monaghan last year, so it will be great for him to hopefully lift the trophy," Kenny said. "That would reflect the effort that he has put in and the contribution that he has made.

"It's a cup final and we're in it, so we must go into it thinking that we are there to win."

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Derry, as Premier Division leaders, go into the game against Cork City Foras as firm favourites tonight. Like Derry, Cork found themselves kicking their heels in the First Division last year as a result of financial problems and ended up completely overhauling the club from top to bottom.

But unlike Derry they couldn't manage to clinch promotion at the first time of asking, although they are well placed to make their return this year as they battle it out with Shelbourne for the First Division title over the closing stages of the season.

For Derry tonight is a great opportunity to avenge costly recent defeats at Turners Cross - most memorably under Kenny in 2005 when Derry lost a league decider there 2-0.

After the embarrassment of losing out in the FAI Cup to Wexford Youths with an under strength team, Kenny kept faith with his squad players in the League Cup and they rewarded him with a brilliant run to this evening's final.

Wins over Salthill Devon and UCD were followed by a pulsating semi-final victory over Sligo Rovers which went to a penalty shootout.

Daniel Lafferty, one of the standout players for the Derry senior side this season, sacrificed himself in the closing stages of that game with a professional foul, so misses out tonight.

Emmet Friars is in line to replace him at fullback while there is a slight doubt over right back Eddie McCallion who has a calf strain.

Barry Molloy, normally a midfielder, has deputised for McCallion in recent matches and acquitted himself well.

Kenny has been employing Eamon Zayed as a lone striker of late and it may be no coincidence that the goals have subsequently started to dry up for the Libyan international. Kenny has options up front, especially now he has Mark Farren back available. He scored one of Derry's goal in the A Championship win last weekend.

Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn provide a strong midfield alongside Deery and Stephen McLaughlin while Patrick McEleney may start alongside Zayed up front.

David McDaid, man of the match in last weekend's final against UCD, is in the squad and Thomas McMonagle and James Henry will also travel with the team.

Tonight's game has a 6pm kick-off and is being broadcast live on Setanta.

Meanwhile because of Derry's involvement in tonight's final, their top of the table clash with Shamrock Rovers in the Premier Division has been rescheduled for Wednesday, October 12 in Tallaght.


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