Derry captain Patrick McEleney is raring to go
Skipper Patrick McEleney still believes that Shamrock Rovers are the team to beat as Derry City prepare for Friday night’s League opener at home to Drogheda United.
The Hoops, who are aiming for their fifth League title in a row, started the 2024 campaign by defeating St Patrick’s Athletic 3-1 in the season curtain-raiser, the President’s Cup at Tallaght Stadium.
McEleney, who won everything domestically during his time at Dundalk, knows Stephen Bradley’s men are going to be hard to stop.
“Rovers are the best, there’s no point in getting away from that,” he insisted. “You don’t win all those leagues and do what they’ve done over the years by luck or by chance. They’ve kept what they had and have added quality again, but look you only have to worry about yourself.”
The 31-year-old knows what it takes to claim the Premier Division title, after winning three of them at Oriel Park.
“To win the League you obviously have to be really, really good for a long time during the year and I think we’ll set small targets now and get the heads down,” he added.
“There’s wee things, which we’ll obviously keep in our changing room, which we can get better at.
“I think there are wee things that we need to fix and tidy up.”
McEleney believes boss Ruaidhrí Higgins — who on Friday appointed Paul Hegarty as his new assistant manager, replacing Paddy McLaughlin — is going to have somewhat of a selection headache in the 2024 campaign.
“Any successful team I’ve been in, there has been competition right through the squad and it’s no different here,” he explained.
“You’ll need to be on your game to stay in the team. Yes, it’s obviously important to keep personnel fit to get us through things.
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