Former Linfield midfielder Pat Fenlon will welcome Derry City to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night – the diminutive Dubliner having been appointed the new Shamrock Rovers manager this week.
And it’s an appointment Brandywell boss Peter Hutton wishes had been delayed for another week, as he attempts to secure his fifth consecutive league victory.
Indeed, with Fenlon a former boss of Hutton’s on Foyleside, the interest in the game is expected to be significant.
It comes as no surprise that Hutton expects a big response to Fenlon’s appointment on Friday but he holds no fear when playing at the Dublin south side venue.
“There’s no doubt that the appointment of Pat Fenlon will lift the players and we must prepare for that,” the Derry boss said.
However, Hutton has a few injury worries with Rory Patterson (back), Barry Molloy (knee), Michael Duffy (tight hamstring) and Patrick McEleney (dead leg) all to fitness tested before the coach leaves for Dublin at lunchtime.
“Rory received a pain-killing injection in his back for last week’s game against Bohemians, but he has not trained this week. Sitting in bus for three to four hours won’t help him, therefore, all the lads with injuries will be tested before we leave for Dublin,” added Hutton.
And while he was concerned about the injuries, Hutton insisted that he had options even for the worse case scenario.
“We played Institute in a pre-season friendly last Monday night in Drumahoe with the team made up from the subs. bench for the Bohemians match and our Under-19 squad.
“Having won the game 3-0, I felt it was a very decent performance and with players such as Stephen Dooley and Philip Lowry getting fitter by the week, we have the necessary cover should it be required.”
Keen to keep his good run going, Derry are seeking their fifth consecutive league victory and the priority is to move closer to Rovers who sit 10 points ahead of them in fourth spot.
“They have played one game more than us, so if we managed to get a win it should make things very interesting over the final series of matches,” concluded the Derry boss.