PREVIEW: DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS

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DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday June 11 2021
Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, 7.45pm
Live on LOITV.ie

Stephen Mallon had to bide his time for his first runout in the red and black of Bohemians but now he has had a taste for it, he is keen to make up for lost time.

The Belfast man was a closed season arrival in January from Sheffield United having spent last year on loan with tonight’s opposition. But he suffered a cruel blow in pre-season when he fractured his metatarsal.

He finally made his bow with a 15-minute cameo appearance in Bohs’ 3-0 win over Waterford a fortnight ago as the League of Ireland season reached its halfway point.

The 22-year-old said: “It has been a tough few months. Obviously when you arrive at a new club, you are really keen to impress early on so to get an injury in pre-season that rules you out for so long was hard to take.

“I just had to knuckle down and work hard with Remy Tang, our conditioning and fitness coach, and the physios to get back as soon as I could.

“It was great to get back on the pitch again. It will take four or five games for me to get back my march sharpness as there is only so much you can do when you are out injured – you cannot replicate what it is like playing.

“But it was a huge relief to finally get my first game under my belt. Hopefully I will get more opportunities now and push on.”

Mallon might find breaking into the team more difficult now than he might have done had he been available at the start of the season.

The pacy former Ireland U21 international was tipped to be one of Bohs’ key men this season but in his absence, after a stop-start beginning to the season, his housemates, Scottish duo Liam Burt and Ali Coote, have found real form on the flanks over the past month or so.

His rivalry with his two fellow wingers, with whom they share a house with Georgie Kelly, is very much a healthy one where they want the very best for one another.

Mallon said: “There’s no bitterness! There is a good, healthy competition. We keep pushing ourselves to be the best that we can.

“I get on really well with the lads I live with, we are all very close. We all want the very best for one another.

“The team had a bit of a slow start but sometimes that happens when you have so many new faces. It was going to take time to gel but the lads have shown what they are capable of.

“Ali and Liam have really clicked in the last month or so and I’m delighted for them both particularly as I live with them and have become good friends as a result.

“Them being so in form can only be good for me too as it makes me strive to be the best version of myself that I can be as that is the only way I will get a chance to get into the team.

“It’s good living with the three lads as we all have similar experiences – living in a new place away from home.

“But the Dublin lads, and the players who were at the club from before, have all been so good to us too. From day one, the players, the coaches and everyone at the club have been so welcoming to all of us.

“It is the perfect platform for us to try to push on together. There’s a great group of players, and we have been made to feel appreciated by everyone at the club.”

Given the form of Burt and Coote, tonight Mallon is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench against his former club, for whom he scored against Bohs in the Brandywell last season.

Mallon added: “Derry have beaten us already this season so we know we have to be right at it to get a result.

“I am looking forward to it, I have a lot of respect for the club and they gave me an opportunity last season.

“We are particularly looking forward to this one as this will be one of the first games with some fans back at games, which everyone is looking forward to seeing, particularly at Dalymount.”

TEAM NEWS

Tyreke Wilson returns from suspension.

Bastién Hery (calf) is likely to miss out while Promise Omochere (quad) is rated 50-50.

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