league of ireland

Derry City manager Peter Hutton.
Derry City manager Peter Hutton.

Brandywell boss Peter Hutton would dearly love to see the League of Ireland mid-season break arrive this Sunday.

However, he must wait until next weekend and, between now and then, face three tough league fixtures.

St. Pat’s Athletic arrive at Foyleside tonight before the Derry club set sail for Tallaght Stadium and a visit to Shamrock Rovers on Monday, that game due to Rovers’ Europa League fixture next month.

And before his players can head off for a one week break, it’s a trip to United Park in Drogheda next Friday.

Struggling with injuries and suspension, the Derry City manager does not have his sorrows to seek.

Talented winger, Stephen Dooley, has yet to feature this season; captain Ryan McBride, remains side-lined with a hamstring problem, while Sean Houston is also ruled out of tonight’s game.

Add in the fact that midfielders Seanan Clucas and Mark Timlin will miss the game due to suspension, and the Derry City boss must again rely on members of his Under-19 team to step up.

“We’ve been decimated with injuries since the start of the campaign and now that suspensions are beginning to kick-in.

“It certainly doesn’t make life any easier for us at the minute,” lamented boss Hutton.

Following Friday’s fixture a trip to Tallaght Stadium awaits on Monday against Shamrock Rovers not to mention another journey to United Park to face Drogheda next Friday

“On the bright front, Philip Lowry has been involved in light training sessions this week, but he hasn’t played since the Sligo game. We don’t want to rush him back, but I’ll leave that decision to the medical people.

“I’ve no doubt that he will put himself forward to play, but with the match against Rovers coming up on Monday night, I don’t think we can take any risks. I don’t think we should be rushing him back,” insisted Hutton.

“Members of our Under-19 squad will again be involved and it was good to see young Ciaran Harkin making his senior debut last weekend in the FAI Cup against Edenderry.

“Georgie Kelly will again be in the squad as will Ronan Curtis who has recently returned from an ankle injury, so we do have options.”

However, Hutton was under no illusions as to the task which lies ahead, particularly after Liam Buckley’s men recorded an excellent 2-1 FAI Cup victory over Shamrock Rovers last Friday night at Richmond Park.

“They will travel with confidence after last week’s win and I’ve no doubt they will have pencilled in a possible return to the Aviva Stadium to defend their trophy come November,” concluded Hutton.