KENNY Shiels insists the first game at the new Brandywell Stadium will be ‘worth the wait’ after it was announced Derry City’s first scheduled home match against Sligo Rovers has been switched to the Showgrounds on February 24th.
The club admits the delays to the redevelopment of the Brandywell have been ‘most frustrating’ with disruptions to pre-season preparations and the fact it’s now faced with three away fixtures on the trot to begin the 2018 Airtricity Premier Division season.
Sligo Rovers were happy to grant Derry’s request to reverse the fixture under the condition that the match pencilled in for the Showgrounds on Saturday, August 4th will now be played at Brandywell on Friday, August 3rd.
Shiels is braced for a tricky opening to the new campaign with matches on the road against Waterford, Sligo and Bohemians with the first match at Brandywell expected to be against Dundalk on March 2nd.
And with City forced to play at Maginn Park for the duration of last season, Shiels was quick to point out that out of the 70 league games he’s been in the Brandywell hotseat, just 16 of those have been played in the club’s traditional base.
Despite the latest setback, Shiels opted to remain positive and believes City fans will be in for a treat once they finally return home to the Lone Moor Road venue.
“By the time we play the three away games to start the season, I’ll have had 70 league games in charge and 16 have been at home,” he stressed.
“But we should stay positive. The stadium is a great stadium and when it’s finished it will have been worth the wait, especially for supporters. The view from the new stand is incredible. It’s like watching the game from your living room.
“It’s really nice. It’s just an absolutely incredible stand when you think of what Derry has been used to. It will be a welcome piece of comfort for the Derry fans.,” he added.
“We now have three away games on the bounce so hopefully our supporters can get to the Sligo one because it will probably be their first opportunity to see us as Waterford is a bit far for people who are working.
“I think the supporters will get a good warmth about the Brandywell Stadium when we eventually get in to play there,” he added.