Peter Hutton welcomes return of experienced duo at the back for tricky tie

Cliff Byrne and Ryan McBride available to face strong Belarus opposition

Ryan McBride and Cliff Byrne of Derry City in action against  Aberystwyth Town last week. Photograph: Huw Evans/Inpho.

Ryan McBride and Cliff Byrne of Derry City in action against Aberystwyth Town last week. Photograph: Huw Evans/Inpho.


Cliff Byrne and Ryan McBride return to the Derry City defence for tonight’s Europa League second qualifying round encounter with Shakhtyor Soligorsk, from Belarus, at the Brandywell.

Manager Peter Hutton is delighted to have his experienced centre-backs available after they missed Sunday’s 5-0 rout of Bray Wanderers due to suspension. However, young left-back, Dean Jarvis is out with a foot injury, but Hutton was delighted to learn the player had not broken a bone in his foot.

“Teenager, Michael Duffy, has not trained this week due to a tight hamstring and we’re not taking any risks with him. We’ll see how he is before the kick-off and I will be guided by our medical team,” added Hutton.

‘Major plus’

“The return of Cliff and Ryan is a major plus factor as Shakhtyor appear to be a very experienced side . . .” said the Derry boss.

Hutton has been impressed at what he has seen so far of Shakhtyor. “I’ve watched DVDs of their opening league fixtures and they have good players. They appear to be a vastly experienced with four or five of their personnel aged 30 years of age and above. Some of their players are technically gifted and we’ll have to be at ourselves if we are to have any chance of progressing to the next round.”

However, Hutton will insist his players enjoy the experience. “So many top players never get to play in European football. Indeed, our own captain. Cliff Byrne, who is 31 years old, has had a good career playing at a good level in England, yet this has been his first experience of European League football . . .

“We will all look forward to the challenge, do everything in our power to keep another clean sheet and, hopefully, take an advantage to Belarus next week and see if we can build on that.”

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