Dean Shiels bemoans Dungannon Swifts’ crisis between the sticks
Dean Shiels says Dungannon Swifts are in the midst of a goalkeeping crisis.
For the second game in a row the Swifts were forced to play goalkeeping coach between the sticks despite the 37-year-old picking up a medial knee ligament injury in training on Thursday night.
Speaking after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Coleraine Shiels revealed he had no option but to play Nelson as his other goalkeepers are currently ruled out due to injury or illness.
The Swifts did try and bring in some emergency cover and also enquired about postponing their trip to The Showgrounds, but they were unsuccessful with both.
“We came here with four goalkeepers unavailable and our goalkeeping coach (Dwayne Nelson) had to play last week and he got injured on Thursday night by doing his medial ligament and was told he’d be out for two months,” said Shiels.
“We spoke to the league about trying to get leeway in terms of bringing in an emergency loan or getting the game called-off but we had no other choice.
“It was either we played an outfield player in goals or play an injured goalkeeping coach.”
The Swifts face a crucial clash next Saturday with Portadown, who are currently one point ahead of the Stangmore Park outfit in the table.
Shiels though doesn’t expect his goalkeeping issues to have eased by then.
“I don’t think we will have any goalkeepers back,” he said.
“I don’t think the situation will be resolved in the coming weeks, so we will have to see where we are at in terms of injuries.
“We tried to bring one in but we hit dead ends there all over the place.
“We’ve more goalkeepers than centre forwards and we have more goalkeepers injured than we have anyone else in the treatment room.
“It is disappointing but these challenges are thrown at you throughout the season and we have to deal with them as best as we can.”
The Swifts put in a spirited display against the Bannsiders with Nelson acquitting himself well despite his injury.
Shiels was pleased with the performance but admitted the difference in quality told in the end.
“We had to come here and compete at one of the hardest places in the league and I thought we stayed well in the game at times,” he said.
“We looked solid, limited them to very little clear cut chances and obviously Coleraine have that quality in the box that can punish you if you’re not tight enough.
“Overall, I thought we competed well and there’s lot of positives to take into next week.”