Peter Hutton targets league win after Derry City’s heroics in Europa League

Derry City boss Peter Hutton
Derry City boss Peter Hutton

Record-breaking Derry City get back to basics in the Brandywell on Sunday when they entertain Bray Wanderers (5pm kick-off).

The Candysrtipes cruised to a 9-0 aggregate win over Aberystwyth Town to book their place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

Thursday’s second leg 5-0 victory was also the biggest away win in Europe for an Irish club, plus the fact that the 9-0 aggregate win over the Welsh club represents yet another record.

Predictably, Brandywell boss Peter Hutton continues to heap praise on his playing staff but his total focus is now on taking three points from Alan Mathews’ Seagulls on Sunday afternoon.

“The players have been absolutely brilliant in what has been a terrific week for us,” smiled Hutton on his return from Wales.

“We’ve scored nine goals in Europe without reply and while we can only pay what’s put in front of us, we also managed to secure a narrow league victory over Athlone at Lissywoollen sandwiched between the Europa League games. So it’s been a good week for us.

“The players have been exceptional but so have the supporters who travelled to Aberystwyth as it’s not the easiest place to negotiate from Derry. They turned up in good numbers and their presence certainly help us to produce the good in what was a top notch display.”

And Hutton insisted that the Europa League must now be placed on the backburner as the Bray fixture takes precedence over next Thursday’s visit of Shakhtyor Soligorsk from Belarus in the second round.

For the Bray game, Hutton faces a reshuffle in his back four with first choice centre-backs Cliff Byrne and Ryan McBride suspended and it’s expected that Shane McEleney and Aaron Barry will deputise.

“The two suspensions hasn’t helped, but it’s all about the first team squad, so it’s a window of opportunity for others to step in and stake a claim for a regular first team place.

“We were held to a scoreless draw by Bray back in April in the Carlisle Grounds and, to be fair to them, we were fortunate to get back up the road with a point.

“However, I think it’s fair to suggest that we’ve improved a lot since then and the players are fully aware of the importance of this league game as we certainly do not wish to be dragged into the relegation zone.

“Bray will be difficult, make no mistake about that, but the players adapted well in Athlone and, hopefully, we will display the same qualities this Sunday as we seek to secure another three points,” he concluded.