Derry City V St Patrick's Athletic

  • Fri, Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:10

It is a case of moving on for Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic when they meet in the Airtricity Premier Division tonight at the Brandywell, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Candystripes saw star winger James McClean depart the club this week as he made a £350,000 move to Sunderland in the English Premier League.

While McClean's departure may have been inevitable after a string of outstanding displays, and the Derry board will be delighted with the healthy transfer fee, it leaves Stephen Kenny without a quality player for the title run-in.

Derry could move top of the table with just a point tonight after Sligo Rovers slipped up against Dundalk last week.

It is a dream scenario for a newly promoted club to find themselves in, and arguably, they will face the least pressure in the 11 games between now and the end of the season.

Pressure is something St Patrick's Athletic know all too much about. It has been a nightmare period for the club with off-field issues threatening to ruin a fine season so far.

The Pat's players called off a strike action to play their Europa League tie with Karpaty Lyiv but it has brought about a tension in the club that led to a woeful performance against UCD last week.

Pat's were fortunate to draw at home to the Students as Gary Rogers and Shane McFaul saw red in front of just 699 supporters.

For a team challenging at the top of the table, it was a woeful attendance but it summed up a feeling of discontent from the club's fans over the bonus and strike issues that arose from the Europa League campaign.

Mahon has a difficult task to regain the togetherness within the club and it will only come with a fresh approach and league victories.

The Brandywell is not an easy place to pick up a win but the Saints need to start to shake off the troubles soon or their title ambitions will suffer.

Pat's are without the suspended Rogers and McFaul, while Anto Murphy is injured and Stephen Bradley is rated very doubtful. Danny North returns from a ban after missing the UCD encounter.

Derry will be without Gareth McGlynn because of the injury he picked up in the Dublin Super Cup.

Saints manager Pete Mahon believes he must freshen up his team as the number of games they are playing could catch up with them.

Mahon said: "We are without a number of key players this week but the team won't change too much from the UCD game.

"Every manager wants players completing for positions and we have this all over the park.

"We've played 17 games since the start of June, not including A championship games, and we have a number of midweek games in the coming weeks, so squad rotation is becoming very important in keeping players fresh and injury free."

Next Fixture

Bray Wanderers / February 23rd @ 7:45pm
Competition: League
Venue: Carlisle Grounds

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League Table

Pos Team Pld Pts
1Bohemian FC13
2Cork City13
3Waterford FC13
5Bray Wanderers11
7St. Patrick's Athletic10
8Derry City10
9Sligo Rovers10
10Shamrock Rovers10