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19 May 2022

Lafferty hails ‘magician' Patching in leading Derry City charge

Lafferty hails ‘magician' Patching in leading Derry City charge

GREAT START… Danny Lafferty has played his part in Derry City’s unbeaten start to the season.

Danny Lafferty has hailed Will Patching as a ‘magician’ who will be making teams sit up and take notice after his goal-scoring heroics against St. Patrick’s Athletic last week.

Derry City sit top of the Premier Division after a brilliant start to the new season, with four wins and two draws taking them two points clear of their nearest rival Sligo Rovers. Last week’s dramatic win over St. Pat’s only added to the good feeling around the club at the minute, with Patching’s 93rd minute winner sending fans home delighted after the best start to a season since 2009.

Incredibly, Patching’s goals against Pat’s were his first from open play for Derry City, but Lafferty is in no doubt that they will be the first of many from the talented midfielder.

“He can score any type of goal; technically he’s a magician,” he said.

“We seen last year in the first part of the season he almost single-handedly carried the team for quite a few games. It’s brilliant that he has picked up where he left off last year. He scored two wonderful goals, especially the second one, and to score so late in the game to give us the win was amazing.

"We all know that and I think that most of the teams around the league know that and are sitting up and taking notice that he’s a serious, serious talent.”

The Candystripes have won three out of four home games this season already conceding just one goal in the process, a vast improvement from 12 months ago when Derry took just two points from the same number of games. Lafferty knows the importance of home form for any team hoping to be successful.

“We want to make this a fortress and want to make it difficult for any team coming up here and if they get anything they are going to have to fight and scrap and battle for it,” he insisted.

“I think we deserved the win (against Pats) because we dominated for large parts of the game and we managed any spells that they had quite well. We limited them to very few opportunities and on another night we could have scored a few more as well. Their goalkeeper has pulled off a few good saves so on the whole we definitely deserved the three points.”

Derry City have achieved their fine start to the season despite significant injury problems which have ruled out Ciaron Harkin and Michael Duffy for the long-term and Patrick McEleney and Matty Smith out for the short-term.

Losing such talented players would effect any team, but Lafferty believes the camaraderie in the squad has helped overcome these problems so far.

MAGIC MOMENTS… Will Patching’s goals against St. Patrick’s Athletic put Derry City back on top of he Premier Division. Photos: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

“Boys have picked up unfortunate injuries but the group is so close and so together that no matter what happens, everyone is together,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what eleven is out on the pitch on a Friday or a Monday, we know we will give everything for each other, so when the boys come back the boys who are in the team will make it difficult to get back in and that’s all healthy.

“That’s what it is this year, there’s a lot of healthy competition, and the boys are pulling in the right direction and everybody wants the greater goal and at the minute it’s paying dividends. The boys love being around each other and it’s really enjoyable to be a part of it at the minute.”

Games rescheduled

City will not be in action until they travel to Bohemians on April 1, the start of a period of three games in eight days. City’s postponed game against UCD will now be played on Monday April 4, while their trip to Finn Harps has been moved to Saturday, April 9 at 5:3opm.

“Obviously, we have no game for two weeks but we’ll get ready because we have quite a few games coming up thick and fast after the break so we’ll get ready to go for that,” Lafferty continued.

“We just have to keep doing what we do and whatever happens elsewhere, so be it. All we can manage is ourselves and take care of our own business. Obviously if other teams drop points and we win, it’s great, we’re sitting top of the table so we’ll enjoy that.”

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