2020 Season Preview: Derry City

Wed, Feb 12 2020

Manager: Declan Devine.

Stadium: Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

 

Players in: Walter Figueira (Waterford), Conor McCormack (Cork City), Conor Clifford (St Patrick’s Athletic), Stephen Mallon (Sheffield United - Loan), Colm Horgan (Cork City), Tim Nilsen (Friedrikstad FK), Danny Lupano (Hull City - Loan), Moussa Bakayoko (FC Shirak), Adam Liddle (Reading - Loan).

Players out: Conor McDermott (Cliftonville), Conor Davis (Cork City), Michael McCrudden (Cliftonville), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Colchester - End of loan), Aidy Delap (Finn Harps - Loan), Grant Gillespie (Ayr United), Barry McNamee (Finn Harps).

 

Extratime.ie Key Man: Conor McCormack

Recently appointed captain, and new recruit of Derry City Conor McCormack looks set to enjoy a talismanic year at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

The former Cork City midfielder re-joins the Candystripes from the Leesiders, with Derry boss Devine looking to make the best possible use out of his leadership qualities.

Should the Foylesiders build on an encouraging 2019, the Co. Louth native is expected to play a pivotal role – even more so in his role as club captain.

Extratime.ie One to Watch: Walter Figueira

The former Chelsea academy product joined Premier Division Waterford with many question marks as regards to his potential, but he dispelled a number of those scepticisms with a fast start to life at the RSC.

Netting twice against his new employers Derry City on his debut for the Blues, Figueira left enough of a mark on the Candystripes to encourage Declan Devine to tempt the 24-year-old to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Goals soon dried up for the fight-footed forward in a barren run of form for Waterford, but Figueira has shown glimpses of his quality already.

With a host of quality and confidence behind him, 2020 could be the year in which he can stake his claim as one of the League of Ireland’s most prolific forwards.

 

How they did last season:

League:

It was a largely positive year in the league on the whole for Derry City, as they secured Europa League qualification on the final day of the season.

The Candystripes scored some impressive results at the Brandywell – breezing past the likes of Cork City and Sligo Rovers there.

Impressive results on the road also followed – but they can be grateful of the efforts of recently departed duo Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and David Parkhouse for that.

FAI Cup:

There was FAI Cup heart-break at the hands of eventual runners-up Dundalk for Derry City as they were seen off in extra-time by the Lilywhites.

Georgie Kelly’s late winner for Vinny Perth’s side saw the co. Louth outfit through to face Waterford in the last eight.

In their FAI Cup opener, the Candystripes were made to work for their win over lowly First Division Wexford, with only a one-goal win to their name.

However, Derry will most certainly be wondering what may have been for themselves if they saw past Dundalk that night.

EA Sports Cup:

If they did not suffer enough heart-break at the hands of Dundalk in the FAI Cup, Derry were to be thwarted again by the Lilywhites in the EA Sports Cup final.

On their route to the final, Derry saw past Longford Town in the first-round, before they edged past Finn Harps via extra-time in the last eight.

They also needed the full distance in the semis to beat Waterford by four goals to two – but that was soon to be forgotten after a penalty shootout defeat in the final to Perth’s all-conquering Dundalk.

 

What to expect this season:

Europa League football, and a reinvigorated football club – Derry City look set to enjoy an exciting 2020 at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

The Foylesiders clinched European qualification on the final day last term, and they will be hoping that they can push on once more.

Concerns will be raised at the club following the departure of David Parkhouse back to his parent club Sheffield United (from where he has joined Stevenage on loan) – but Devine will be quietly confident his new front line can fire.

Walter Figueira from Waterford, and fellow foreign import Tim Nilsen will provide some much-needed firepower to make up for the loss of the Northern Irish under-21 international.

In addition, Derry will also look to remain well organised while also showing an attacking intent as they displayed last year.

They dynamism of Ciaron Harkin will be key in this regard, as will the services of Conor Clifford who has just joined the club from St Patrick’s Athletic.

Should the Candystripes secure European qualification again and go one further in the domestic cup competitions – you can be assured that Devine will be more than pleased with that outcome.  

 

Title Odds: 16/1.

First game: Dundalk (away).

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