Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
With Dundalk having such a patchy season, the Lilywhites supporters are surely ruing the loaning of Will Patching to Derry City.
During his time in Dundalk Ruaidhri Higgins had played a part in bringing the former Notts County player to Oriel Park and is delighted to be working with him again this time in Derry for however long the time lasts.
The 22-year-old player lined out nine times for the Lilywhites last season, and has already made more league appearances this year with Derry – with his goals giving his team a 1-0 win over Sligo Rovers earlier in the season and a point against Shamrock Rovers last Saturday.
“Will Patching’s loan is up in June,” said Higgins speaking in Tallaght after the 1-1 draw against the Hoops over the weekend. “In my five games in charge, Will has been outstanding. I can’t lie.
“He has been very good. He is only a young lad and has minimal senior experience and he is grabbing it with both hands now.
“I was assistant manager at Dundalk so I was involved in who comes into the club so I was very aware of him. He is a pleasure to work with on a daily basis and a terrific footballer.
“But we haven’t had that conversation,” said Higgins about the possibility of extending his loan deal in the Brandywell.
Derry had hoped to have another loanee play a crucial role in their season but Joe Hodge’s injury has seen him return to Manchester City. “He has had a setback with his injury. I’m not fully aware of the extent of it. His loan runs out in the summer.”
Higgins has made an immediate impact on taking up the role in the Derry dugout. The Candystripes have earned eight points from his five games in charge. His team are unbeaten away from home with two wins to go with their point at the home of the champions over the weekend.
It could have been all three points potentially but for Rovers’ controversial goal against Derry (see here for managerial reaction from both clubs).
Higgins said afterwards that “I can't be too disappointed – I thought we put in a really courageous performance and limited them to only a couple of chances.
“So we can be very proud of ourselves and in particular the players. They carried out our instructions to a tee. Our defensive shape was really good and we looked a threat when we broke.”
A threat in the second half came from Will Fitzgerald who Higgins sprung from the bench.
“Will is a talented player. As the game opens up it suits him when there is more space. He is a street footballer and he dribbles with the ball and gets you up the pitch. He is only 21 and if he fulfils his potential we have a hell of player here.”
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