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'Players can do a McClean' - Derry boss Declan Devine

The Candystripes manager has backed his squad to perform in the Airtricity League and says talent-spotters will be keeping a keen eye on the Brandywell this season.

Devine wants to hit the ground running in his first year at the helm.
Devine wants to hit the ground running in his first year at the helm.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty

DERRY CITY MANAGER Declan Devine believes that his latest crop of players can use the recent achievements of former Candystripes stars as an added incentive to bring success to the Brandywell this season.

The 38-year-old replaced new Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Kenny in January having been his assistant at Derry and Dunfermline and has had to deal with a number of high profiles departures.

Last season’s Premier Division top goalscorer Eamon Zayed left for Persepolis and has since shot to fame in the Iranian capital after scoring a hat-trick in the Tehran derby.

Defender Daniel Lafferty secured a move to Npower Championship side Burnley after impressing during a trial period. Emmet Friars (Dungannon Swifts) and Ruairi Harkin (Coleraine) have switched to the Carling Premiership while midfielder Gareth McGlynn opted to relocate to Australia and has linked up Jason Gavin at Perth-based Stirling Lions.

The biggest success story to come out of the club, and Ireland, in the past six months is James McClean’s meteoric rise, however. A senior debut tonight for Giovanni Trapattoni’s team would cap an unbelievable six months for the 22-year-old since he agreed to join Sunderland back in August.

“We’ve lost 51 of the 63 league goals we scored last year with Eamon Zayed, Gareth McGlynn, Daniel Lafferty and James McClean all moving on,” Devine told TheScore. “But I have belief in the players we have brought in and we’re confident in their ability.

We have talented young players at this club and have a proud history of producing them. There’s always going to be people watching Derry City games because they know the players are getting developed properly.

“So there is a window of opportunity for players. In certain circles, the Airtricity League doesn’t get the recognition it deserves for producing players.

“Over the past seven or eight years, we’ve had a tremendous record of moving players on and I think for the likes of Stephen McLaughlin, Patrick McEleney, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Simon Madden, there’s a great opportunity for the boys to be in the shop window and I’m quite happy with that.”

Derry finished behind champions Shamrock Rovers and Sligo in third place last season and Devine is aiming to better that and add to their trophy cabinet in 2012 – although he insists that competition in the league will be even stiffer this time around.

Stripped

UEFA last week stripped the club of their Europa League place and are likely to hand it to Bohemians due to the conditions of their liquidation in 2009, which comes with a three-year European suspension, meaning they will be even more determined to qualify for next year.

“We want to be successful, and what that means to me is challenging for trophies,” Devine added. “I’m at a very big club, if not one of the biggest in the country and I think we can try and get some silverware.

“The league is going to be a tougher league this year in my opinion. There’s a higher standard of teams so we know we are going to be up against it.

We’ve more travelling to do than any other club. Every away game is a trek and we don’t have any other teams close by.”

They host Aaron Callaghan’s Gypsies on Friday night and after showing encouraging signs in a 7-0 aggregate win over Lisburn Distillery in the Setanta Sports Cup, will be seeking an opening day win in front of their home support.

“Preparations have been great. I feel the boys have worked really hard in pre-season and I’ve been very happy with their application.

“We’re shaping up okay and have that bit of hunger so I’m looking forward to it (the start of the season).”

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