Duff ready for Derry showdown

The Reds look to get back to winning ways when they host Derry City at Tolka Park tomorrow in the League of Ireland (7:45pm).

Damien Duff’s side were unlucky to leave Richmond Park on the losing side of a cagey Dublin Derby a week ago, as a perfectly struck free from Jake Mulraney gave St Patrick’s Athletic a 1-0 win. 

In team news, Damien Duff will have to plan without Matty Smith, while the long term injured players are Kian Leavy and Brian McManus:

“Matty is still unavailable with Brian and Kian out too. Aside from that, everyone is okay and ready to rock. The training has been really good this week, we came in on Saturday and dusted ourselves down. We had our post-match analysis on the game against Pats and started preparing for Derry. The lads trained well with great energy, and that was alongside a nice calmness to how they approached the week too.”

Duff was in attendance at the Tallaght Stadium on Monday as Derry City suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Shamrock Rovers. Duff feels Derry deserved more from the game and carrying the disappointment of that result into tomorrow makes them an even more dangerous side: 

“There’s an awful lot of quality players in their squad. Derry dominated the ball for large spells, and look they were disappointed with the result obviously.

“It’s probably added something to tomorrow’s game for them, it is a big one in terms of the league title. They’ll be looking to win, they know how important that could be to stay in the title race.”

The Reds have faced Derry City twice this season, the game at Tolka ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat, while Duff’s side were unlucky not to pick up all three points on the road after a 0-0 draw. The Reds boss took plenty of positives from their performances against the Candystripes this season.

“There are a lot of positives to take, we played very well, those games against Derry and even if you look at the matches too against Pats, they are very tight games, in games like that it often comes down to key moments to settle the matches. It’s important that we come out on the right side rather than the wrong side. Who will step up and create the magic?

“We have players in our squad capable of doing it. We’ve seen it already. Mulraney last week with his goal, that big moment and Ryan Graydon then in Tolka for Derry, they have been influential. Many tight games are decided by these crucial moments, we need to be on the right side of them tomorrow.”

The Reds are facing into matches with Derry, UCD and a Dublin Derby with Bohemian FC. Duff knows the coming weeks will be pivotal in determining the path they take for the rest of the season:

“The results we get in those games can go a long way in deciding things later on in the season. They are three great games to have, when you include the Leinster Senior Cup match too. The lads are embracing it, quickly parked the disappointment last Friday and there’s a real excitement about the place and in training. That’s what we want to see, it’s time to approach it with enthusiasm rather than dread. These next games, the points on offer, they are big points that can take us far and propel us towards our desired destination.”

Duff is urging his players to play without pressure and enjoy their football: “I’m trying to take the sting out of it. I want the pressure off the players, I guess you could say it is on me and Ruaidhri Higgins, as well as the Derry players. We have our aims, hopes, and goals, but it’s not an additional pressure. They need to know they can go out and relax. Our guys are good enough without putting that extra pressure on themselves.

“Being brave with the ball is something I emphasised this morning, especially in the final third of the pitch. It’s evident for everyone to see. Our players are coached both with and without the ball, but sometimes that cutting edge, that little gamble you take in a split second, the instinct to try something nobody else would, that can’t be coached. It’s about sensing the opportunity and being brave, but also remaining relaxed in the final third.”


Tickets for the Reds upcoming clash are available here: https://shelbournefc.ie/tickets-2/


Watch all the action on LOITV, coverage begins from 7:30pm with kick off at 7:45pm. Commentary from Adam Leonard and former Red Georgie Poynton.

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