Conor McCormack feels his side will reap the rewards of lockdown training


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CONOR McCORMACK’S GPS tracker took some punishment as he tried to stay in shape during lockdown.

And he is confident that work can help Derry City stay the course in their bid for success this season.

They are full of confidence after they bounced back from defeat by Sligo Rovers in their restart opener to beat St Pat’s last Monday.

McCormack, 30, knows there was heavy criticism in the wake of the Bit O’Red loss but reckons the harshest words were reserved for the Derry dressing room.

He revealed: “There were a lot of people questioning us after the Sligo game because the effort wasn’t there — and rightly so.

“That’s not the Derry City I know because I’ve been at this club before and know what they stand for.

“We had a chat the other night following the Sligo game because we were seriously disappointed.

“There was no effort so we had a word with ourselves because we know there is a lot more in us.”

On Monday, they were a different proposition as they ran out worthy winners against the Saints, with McCormack scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win.

But the fact that the Candystripes needed to bounce back in the first place surprised McCormack.

Throughout the shutdown, Derry’s players kept training on their own before getting the go-ahead to resume group sessions.

McCormack said: “We had all our GPSs to do, five days out of seven, because we didn’t know when we would be back.

“Then we thought that four-team tournament would happen, and a game with Celtic, so there were a lot of setbacks the last few weeks.”

On top of that, four new arrivals had to sit out the Sligo game as they followed Covid-19 quarantine protocols following their arrivals from Britain, with midfielder McCormack having to fill in at right-back on the night.

But James Akintunde completed his isolation last weekend and showed a glimpse of what he can bring to the Brandywell with the opening goal against the Saints.

Winger Adam Hammill has also now got the green light to play and could face the Hoops this evening.

And McCormack reckons that Derry will be a stronger force as the season goes on and the new faces settle into their surroundings.

McCormack said: “The new signings are giving us a different dimension, they all look like very good footballers.

This evening’s clash with league leaders Rovers — who Derry will play again in the third-last game of the season — is another test.

While the Candystripes have had an inconsistent season both before and after the halt — seven points from six games tells its own story — the Hoops have a perfect six wins from six games.

McCormack added: “They have been building impressively in the last few years to compete with Dundalk.

But he knows it will be harder given that Derry will not have a vocal Brandywell support behind them as the season continues behind closed doors.

“The advantage of the crowd, even the decisions of the referee can go the way of the home team.

“It’s really strange and you’re trying to motivate yourself because there are no fans there, nobody shouting and screaming and giving you the abuse that you’re used to.

But while the atmosphere feels like pre-season, McCormack acknowledges that boss Devine never lets them forget that the stakes are high, especially with the shortened 18-game campaign.

The Louth native said: “It’s high stakes now, no margin for error and every minute on the pitch matters and every point matters.

« You need to hit the ground running and get results and then the performances will come out, the more confidence you get.”

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Derry City F.C., Shamrock Rovers F.C., Conor McCormack, Sligo Rovers F.C., League of Ireland Premier Division, St Patrick’s Athletic F.C.

Actu monde – GB – Conor McCormack feels his side will reap the rewards of lockdown training


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