FOOTBALL: Shiels wants big finish

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels.
Derry City manager Kenny Shiels.

Manager Kenny Shiels believes Derry City “owe it” to every team in the relegation battle to try and take three points from tomorrow’s encounter with Sligo Rovers (7.45 p.m).

Despite having already wrapped up European qualification, Shiels revealed he will be fielding his strongest side available.

The City boss stressed that ‘integrity and fairness’ must be protected and he warned his players not to even think about ‘slacking off.’

“That’s not the way we are going about things,” stated Shiels.
“So we should just put out the youth team in the last two matches? No, that’s crazy. We are going into try and win games.

“We have to maintain the integrity and good spirit of the game which we have done and which we will always do on my watch. I always want my team to work hard and given everything against every opponent.

“We also owe to the other teams around the bottom. We are playing two teams who are fighting for their lives and the only way we can go about that with honesty, integrity and fairness, is by doing our best and playing our strongest team and that’s what we’ll be doing.

We are playing two teams who are fighting for their lives and the only way we can go about that with honesty, integrity and fairness to every team is by doing our best and playing our strongest team and that’s what we’ll be doing.

Kenny Shiels

“We want third. It’s not going to have any great financial benefit but I would prefer to finish third.

“It would be a great achievement to finish third and the kudos of finishing third sits well with me and the players.”

The Maghera man, who was speaking at Da Vinci’s Hotel yesterday, conceded it had been a tough season for everyone connected to the club after the sudden death Ryan McBride in March which is still in his thoughts.

“It has been very tough. At every corner there seemed to be a fresh challenge so yes, we feel a real sense of achievement,” he admitted.

“I remember sitting in this very hotel after we got the news about Ryan. We met here and it brings back memories every time I come through those doors.

“Certainly, it’s prevalent in my head, the setbacks we had but that has to be a driving force for all of us. We will continue to drive on to bring a trophy to this club.”

Shiels is already looking ahead to next year and wants his players to finish the season on a positive note.

“We want to have momentum in the last few games and the boys are feeling good about what they have achieved.

“We don’t want to lose the last two games by taking the easy way out. We have shown commitment and that professionalism is a big part of what we have achieved.”