JACK BLAKE WANTS to use the new Ulster Senior League season to show Kenny Shiels what he is capable of.
Centre-back Blake begins the new USL campaign tomorrow evening when Derry City Reserves host Bonagee United in the League Cup at the Brandywell Showgrounds.
Derry first team manager Shiels is a big advocate of the USL and has been a regular attender at the Candystripes’ games in the League since his appointment.
Blake (picture above by Geraldine Diver) also lines out for the Derry City Under-19, but sees this as a big chance to make a push into Shiels’ plans.[adrotate group=”37″]
“It’s a few more games for boys who aren’t playing for the first team boys and it’s good for the likes of us in the under-19s to push us on,” the Convoy man told Donegal Sport Hub.
“Kenny is a big fan of the Ulster Senior League so it’s a great chance for us to show him what we can do. He mightn’t get to the away games in the Under-19 games so we can get an extra chance to play in front of him.
“It’s a good standard and it helps us going into training. It’s easier when you get the call then to go into the first team. I’m in training away and it’s definitely improved me as a footballer being with the first team.[adrotate group=”38″]
“We’re full-time training. It has to improve you fitness and your game.
“The standard of players, not just the games, in training is top drawer. And it’s every day so you can’t not improve.”
Derry have brought a long list of players through to their first team having played in the USL and just last week Derry offered professional contracts to Conor McDermott, Ben Doherty and Rory Holden, who could all feature in this season’s USL.[adrotate group=”46″]
Blake said: “Derry have been very competitive in the Ulster Senior League. Everyone playing is looking to impress for the first team. We know we need to play well.
“There might only be six teams but it’s still very competitive. There’s a lot of football for us. It’s more physical than the underage stuff and the Ulster Senior League prepares you more for the League of Ireland, I think.”