KEVIN Deery reckons Derry City players don’t always get the credit they deserve, claiming the decision not to award Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe the June ‘Player of the Month’ was ‘unjust’.
The Brandywell club’s assistant manager was disappointed the striker didn’t get rewarded for his outstanding efforts in recent games, as he was pipped to the SSE Airtricity League/SWAI accolade by Bohs’ playmaker, Danny Mandroiu.
It’s been six years since a Derry player last won the award with skipper, Barry McNamee winning the April player of the month back in 2013.
Deery, who won the August award in the memorable 2006 campaign having scored that magnificent brace against Gretna in the UEFA Cup qualifiers, insists Derry players must be the best ‘by miles’ before they are recognised by the Soccer Writers’ Association.
“I think if you earn anything up here you have to be a clear winner,” he said. “If you haven’t been the best players by miles then you’re not likely to get it. I think Junior has been class. He’s a class young fella and for him not to get the award is unjust in my opinion. We don’t get the credit we deserve up here.
“The amount of work we’ve put in and Junior has put in and to go to Turner’s Cross and score a hat-trick is probably unheard of to be honest. I can’t remember too many players in the history of the league having done that.
“It’s something we’ve told players. you have to fight for everything up here and this is just another example of that.
“We played Dundalk and there wasn’t a great deal of press around the game and they’re the champions. The week before they were in Tallaght and the whole of the country’s eyes were on that one.
“We will just keep doing what we’re doing. We’re delighted with Junior and long may it continue. If he gets awards along the way then it will be greatly accepted on our behalf. But it is what it is.
“Danny Mandriou is a quality player but Junior scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen at the Brandywell which was disallowed, the overhead kick and he’s had big moments in this league. We’re just delighted to have him. He’s been a dream. It might feel a bit unjust but he’s been brilliant for us and that’s all that matters.
“What matters is that the Derry fans are enjoying having him, we’re enjoying having him here. Let’s not get too caught up in it. We’ll just keep pushing on.”
Only a handful of Derry players have been the recipient of a player of the month award since the club’s title winning season of 1996/97. That year Paul Curran, Gary Beckett and Peter Hutton all won awards. In fact ‘Pizza’ won the award twice (1997/2005) while Darren Kelly (2001/02), Eamon Doherty (2002/03), Mark Farren (2005), Paddy McCourt (2006), Rory Patterson (2012) and McNamee (2013) have all been recognised.
And Deery believes there should be more of the current squad nominated for awards given their efforts so far this year.
“There’s performers here who are definitely in the top six players every month. There’s certainly players who should be nominated but aren’t and that’s down to the press in Dublin.
“I won it in 2006 and I think Mark Farren won it and Barry McNamee but that’s probably the only three I remember. I’m not sure if Pat McCourt got it as well. It’s very scarce if you check the history books but it’s a tough one to get.
“It’s out of our control. We would love it if our players got it because it’s recognition of how much work they’re putting in for us and for the fans.
“Hopefully some day one of them gets their just rewards.”