By Gerard Mulreaney
New Derry City striker Tim Nilsen said that the Candystripeswill only get better as the season progresses, following their 1-0 defeat to champions Dundalk on Friday night.
The Norwegian made his debut for Declan Devine’s side in their opening SSE Airtricity League clash at Oriel Park.
“Of course, it was annoying to lose, it’s always annoying to lose football matches. There was a huge amount of excitement for the first game of the season. I thought we played a good match and we’ll only get better and better throughout the year,” said Nilsen.
Despite not scoring against Dundalk the 27-year-old doesn’t lack confidence: “I’m pretty sure I can contend for the top scorer title here. To be honest I didn’t know too much about the League of Ireland until I arrived. I had heard a little bit about Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, as they’ve played in the Europa League against Norwegian teams.”
He arrived at the Brandywell from Norwegian third division side Fredrikstad, where he was very successful, scoring 28 goals in 49 league games.
Following the departure of both Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and David Parkhouse, who scored 25 goals between them as the Candystripes soared into Europe, Derry manager Declan Devine needed to add goals to the team. Having brought in the Norwegian, as well as Walter Figueira and Adam Liddle, hopes are high that the goals will flow.
Devine recently described Nilsen as having qualities which reminded him of both the late Mark Farren and former Northern Ireland international striker, Rory Patterson. It’s something Nilsen was happy to hear: “Nothing’s better than hearing your coach talk well about you. It’s even better to be compared to legends, however the fall is much greater should you fail to live up to those expectations. I am a player who gives my heart in every football game, so hopefully I can score lots of goals for Derry City.”
He grew up in Bergen, ‘the city between the seven mountains,’on the west coast, over 450 kilometers from Oslo. Having began his career there he felt he needed to move away to experience football in other cities. He moved on to Sweden, and then Russia before returning home to Norway and joining Fredrikstad.
When Derry’s new Technical Director Paddy McCourt got in touch to see if he fancied coming to play in the League of Ireland, it didn’t take much convincing: “When I was contacted by Paddy McCourt we had a great conversation about what Derry could do for me and what I could do for Derry.
“I was very much convinced after the first conversation with Paddy. I met Declan (Devine) for the first time at the hotel in Derry and he greeted me with a big smile. He’s a fantastic person and great coach.”
Derry have Europa League football to look forward to in the summer, which was a factor in Nilsen joining the club: “All footballers want to play at the highest level that they can. Europe will be a new adventure for me, one that I have never played before. I honestly think we should be able to get through 2 rounds, but of course, we will hope to go further.”
Picture Credit: Derry City FC