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SAINTS head for Ireland this weekend to take on Eircom Premier side Derry City at the Brandywell Stadium (Saturday, kick-off 7.30).
Like TNS, Derry are playing in the Uefa Cup preliminary round, where they will meet Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.
No doubt goalkeeper Gerard Doherty will be looking forward to a return to his former club, who are currently in season.
Derry's top marksman is Liam Coyle, who at 35 continues to confound the critics with his performances.
He is now considered a veteran, yet there are very few clubs - north or south of the Irish border - who would not wish to have the Derry man in their squads.
He has won every individual and team honour in Irish national league soccer, and is City's all-time leading scorer, who scored his 100th goal for the club last season.
In their last game - on Tuesday night - City slumped to a 4-0 away Eircom League defeat at Longford Town, which dropped them to second-bottom in the table. Manager Kevin Mahon is to be asked to explain recent poor results at a meeting of the club's board next week.
Saints have made an encouraging start to their intensive campaign of pre-season friendlies, with a 10-0 win over Mid Cheshire Leaguers Malpas FC, and a 1-0 victory over Dr Martens League newcomers, Team Bath, on Tuesday night.
Several triallists have featured in the squad, none more so than experienced central defender, Jimmy Aggrey (ex-Yeovil), whose performances must have impressed the management as cover for the injured Steve Evans.
Ex-Swansea striker, Jamie Wood, has netted twice and could provide a much needed boost to the strike force.
TNS have also given opportunities to young Wrexham duo, Gareth Sudlow and Alex Stacey, former Ipswich starlet Lee Chaffey, and Alan Delahunty, who has played for Bangor and Greenock Morton.
18 July 2021
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