Derry City's Marathon Men ready for Cork test

RUNNING MAN . . . Midfielder, Ciaron Harkin could be set for a return to the starting line-up for the visit of Cork City to Brandywell tonight.
RUNNING MAN . . . Midfielder, Ciaron Harkin could be set for a return to the starting line-up for the visit of Cork City to Brandywell tonight.

DECLAN Devine insists there is no early signs of burnout or exhaustion amongst his squad as they prepare for their fifth game in 14 days when they host Cork City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium tonight.

Instead the Derry City boss revealed some of his players have been clocking up ‘phenomenal’ mileage on the pitch over the past couple of weeks and are still looking as fresh as ever.

Greg Sloggett, who covered a 13k distance alone against UCD, and his midfield partner, Ciaron Harkin have incredibly ran the equivalent of two marathons during their last three matches as Devine keeps faith with his high intensity approach to games.

And the City boss insists his players are relishing the ‘double header’ against Cork and Bohemians at Brandywell over the next four days as the punishing fixture schedule shows no let-up.

“We have players who are clocking up a serious amount of miles but they’re fresh again and ready to go,” claimed Devine. “We play at a high intensity,” he added. “Our players get amongst you with and without the ball. I have three players in the last three games who have done the equivalent of two marathons. They’ve done 50 odd miles in three games in a week.

“Harkin, Sloggett, Junior and Parky - they are all up there around the 48 to 56 miles mark in three games and that’s incredible running. But they’ve all trained and are ready to go again against Cork.

“That’s testament to how they live their lives and how fit they are as individuals. To clock those type of miles, to do two marathons in the space of a week plus your training and your recovery is phenomenal. It’s really outstanding.

“Sometimes we’re not as free-flowing with the ball and sometimes they’ll make mistakes or miss chances but the actual energy from them I think lifts everybody.

“And to see the running capabilities and effort they’re putting in, it’s really brilliant. The boys are fit and fresh and ready to go against Cork and that’s testament to the staff as well and how they’re looking after them as well.”

With the chance of moving 12 points clear of Cork with a win, motivation will become the master of fatigue.