Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has called on supporters to come out in force this weekend and support their bid for a League Cup trophy.
The Candy Stripes face First Division side Cobh Ramblers in the Brandywell on Sunday, with Shiels’ men getting home advantage on the flip of a coin.
With no game last week due to U21 internationals, Derry haven’t played in two weeks, and the manager agreed that the excitement is really building – and he hope that will feed into the support as well who, he feels, can play a huge role in two days’ time.
“It’s getting around that time where the excitement is building and it’s getting a bit edgy. We want to do well for the city and for the club, but we know it’s going to be a difficult game. They know how to shut up shop and close themselves off, and they’re good at what they do,” the manager told the Derry News. “We need the supporters to be behind us – it would help an awful lot. History tells us that the teams that are most successful in the League of Ireland are those with the most support.
“Look at Cork and Dundalk who are filling out their stadiums. If we could do that regularly and generate that revenue to bring better players in, we’ll only improve.”
With Ally Roy cup-tied having played for Sligo Rovers earlier in the competition, Shiels admitted that he is light on attacking options, but he feels the onus is on his team to go out and break down what will be a resilient Ramblers defence.
“These things happen in football and you can’t dwell on it. We are now definitely low in that striker area – we only have Ronan Hale and Cathal Farren – but it’s up to us to break them down and to put on an entertaining display of football.”
It has truly been a rollercoaster of a season so far for the Candy Stripes but with two trophies and European football still up for grabs, Shiels said it was important to focus on the positives ahead of a big two weeks for the club.
“Apart from Cork and Dundalk, there isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t have an up and down season – especially with the new ten team league,” insisted the manager. “You’re playing clubs every two months and naturally that produces moments of high momentum and moments of low momentum, and that’s what we’ve seen this season.”
While the squad on Sunday will look very different to that which took on Finn Harps in the round of 16 six months ago, Shiels said that he is building a young, local squad, and that Sunday’s game will be the first of many brilliant experiences for them.
“The characteristic of the team has been that we’re building, we’re dismantling and we’re recycling. What we want to be doing is building, building, building, but, without trying to be negative, we have lost a lot of talent to the likes of Dundalk, Cork and Coleraine.
“You have to expect there will be a changing of the guard and you have to live with that and draw from it. We’ve just signed two local lads long-term in Shane McNamee and Aidy Delap, and we have Sam Todd, Niall Logue, and Ronan Wilson who will be coming back in January, so it’s a building process.”
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