INTERVIEW: CORAL HAILS DERRY'S TEENAGE KICKS

Derry City vice-captain Coral Lapsley believes the development of the club's younger players this season should give great hope for the club.

The Candystripes have fielded 11 teenagers in the league alone this season and despite results being tough on the North-West side, there are more players now coming through the ranks.

"When you have so many younger players, those with experience become even more important," Lapsley, 28, explained, when evaluating her own role in the side.

"Those older players become particularly crucial in tough games in terms of knowing what to expect, even though the younger players have a lot of enthusiasm and have shown their character.

"Most importantly is that these youngsters are enjoying their football and are clearly developing, it’s important for their progress that they get first-team action."

Derry are not in league action this week due to participating in the Foyle Cup, but Lapsley explained that players returning from injury will give them a boost going into their next run of fixtures.

"We have been badly hit by player absentees and injuries this season," continued Lapsley, whose side face league leading duo Linfield and Glentoran in two of their next three matches.

"The unavailability of players adds up and it takes its toll on a squad like ours, but this week we are hoping to regroup a little so that we have as close to a full squad as possible for the next run of games.

"A few matches this month we have had to travel with just 11 or 12 players - sometimes not even enough for a substitute’s bench - because of the strain we have been under.

"Full credit must go to the players who have stepped in because we have been putting in good performances even if results have not gone our way.

"We know that players who do not get a lot of game time are able to come in and step up to the plate.

"At the start of the season we set ourselves goals in terms of consistency, but the standard of this league is so high and it’s so difficult to win points.

"Now we want to pick up that consistency again and push on."

Derry are locked in a battle to avoid relegation with Comber Rec and their 2-1 victory over Winky Kerr’s side could prove massive at the end of the campaign.

"That result gave us all a massive lift for sure," said Lapsley.

"In our first match against Comber Rec we drew 0-0 but we were very unlucky not to come away with three points because their goalkeeper (Leigh Skelton) was magnificent in that match.

"With the way the table is shaping up the games between us and the head-to-head will be absolutely crucial, so getting three points on the board against them was a huge lift.

"It was exactly what we needed and now we can aim to pick up points in different matches, but our game away to Comber later in the season could prove crucial to both clubs."

Derry's next game sees them travel to Linfield at Midgley Park on 31 July.

Tags:  Derry City Ladies