BACK HOME… Patrick McEleney is back in red and white.
Since pulling on that red and white shirt for the first time in seven years, Patrick McEleney has urged everyone to have patience for the road ahead.
A player who has won everything there is to win in the domestic game, McEleney is surpassed only by Jim McLaughlin when it comes to Derry men and League of Ireland honours. He knows full well just what it takes to win the biggest competitions in Ireland, and one of those attributes is most certainly patience.
He finds himself alongside some of the best attacking players in the country at Derry City, but he knows nothing can be taken for granted.
“We have a lot of really good attacking players and look it’s alright having them, but you need to bring everything together and have a good unit together so we’re working on that now so hopefully well be in a good place,” he said.
“I think the club deserves success. I think the city as a whole, it’s obviously massive for the fans and for everybody how big this club is, so the local lads here will know that well and know from playing here previously that this club needs to be successful and it’s up to us to do it.”
A particularly special aspect of his return to Derry is the chance to play alongside his brother Shane once again, with the elder McEleney brother signing on from Finn Harps. With nephew Tiernan McKinney also coming through the ranks at the club, it is a special kind of family reunion for Patrick.
“It’s brilliant for me and Shane and for the family,” he agreed. “I think it’ll be a good moment once we both get out there together and get playing, but as I say it’s more for the family than anything else really. It’s brilliant for the family. Tiernan and Shane were on the same pitch in pre-season there in a couple of games so as I said it’s really exciting.”
As well as the obvious talent already at the club, pre-season showed that there is reason to be optimistic for the future as well, with a number of younger players showing glimpses of just what they can do.
“You know what the young boys have been in a few times and I couldn’t believe how good they were you know- really, really talented,” McEleney agreed. “It’s really exciting for the club and for the fans that we have this crop underneath us that could probably make it to the top so just makes me old now that my nephew’s playing there now.”
For now however, it is all about this season which begins tonight (Friday) at the place McEleney called home for six years. Having played such a huge role in Dundalk’s success, he is now plotting to bring them down as a Derry City player.
“I was there for I think six years and obviously I won a lot of trophies so, it’s a big part of my career, but I’m a Derry City player now so I’m really looking forward to it definitely,” he added.
“It’s a big game and it’s a big few games really but you have to play everybody anyways so that’s my view on it,” he explained.
“I know everybody’s putting this expectation on us to go and win things, which is fine it comes with the territory but as players we are not all here to just out our feet up. It’s what we’re going to be aiming for. If we didn’t aim for that then we would all just sit in the house. We’re really looking forward to the season.”
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