Derry City focused on keeping Trabzonspor tie alive until Brandywell return leg
Europa League: Second Qualifying Round, first leg
Derry City captain Barry Molloy stressed that maintaining a good shape and keeping their discipline is vital againt Trabzonspor in Turkey.
Derry City captain Barry Molloy yesterday stressed that maintaining a good shape and keeping their discipline were paramount if they are to survive against Trabzonspor in the muggy heat of the Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium tonight.
Though he won’t play, the Derry players watched as new Trabzonspor signing, ex-Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda, chatted with club officials at their hotel yesterday. It acted as a reminder of the calibre of club they are up against.
“They have a very good, talented squad of international players,” said midfielder Molloy. “If they can entice the likes of Malouda then we know they have a lot to offer. So we know the task is going to be very difficult for us. We’ve worked on our shape during the week and know we’ll have to be very disciplined, especially from midfield and back.
“It’s going to be a long night without the ball. It’s important we keep our shape and discipline and when we do get the ball we try to keep a hold of it. The main focus is to try to keep the game alive going back home. It’s going to be very difficult for us. It’s a huge task, but we have to go into it in a positive manner.”
Though the unsettled Didier Zokora, Sol Bamba, Emerson, Marek Cech and Marc Janko are reportedly not going to play either, Derry manager Declan Devine believes the real danger will come from Polish international midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski.
“He’s a top player,” said Devine of Mierzejewski. “We watched a DVD of their cup semi-final last season when they won 6-0 against Sivasspor and he scored a hat-trick and was instrumental in the other three goals.”
Devine has selection headaches of his own. Defenders Thomas Crawley (stomach) and Dean Jarvis (ankle) didn’t travel, while attackers Paddy McEleney, Rory Patterson and Michael Rafter, along with midfielder Seán Houston, face fitness tests.
“We need to try to stay in the game. We’ll play a 4-3-3, but when we haven’t got the ball it will be a 4-5-1,” said Devine. “We’ve got to drop off, we can’t go chasing the ball. We try to play a high, pressing game at home. But ball retention when we do get it here will be crucial. They’re a step up from anything we’ve faced in a long time.
“It certainly helps that they are only three weeks into their pre-season,” said Devine. “We’ll take every positive we can. At the same time, we’ve to be realistic in our approach to the match. We’re playing a team of a much higher calibre to what we play every week.
“They will fancy their chances strongly. They’ve had us watched and the feedback I’m getting is that they are very, very confident. We’re just hoping we can hang in there.
“But we’re not coming here to sit on the edge of our own box. I don’t want to give that mindset out.
“We’re certainly hoping that we can counterattack when we get the ball.”