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Timlin: 'Cup will be won in midfield'

FROM Portman Road to Lansdowne Road in the space of a few months, it's been some journey for Derry City midfielder Mark Timlin.

And the Donegal native hopes that his side have the ability to have a winning finish to his debut season in the League of Ireland on Sunday when they face up to St Patrick's Athletic in the FAI Ford Cup final - if they can overcome the mental block which has hampered them this season.

Given that he will only turn 20 a week after the Cup final, ex-Ipswich man Timlin is one of the babies in Peter Hutton's squad but, after a difficult start to the season for the player and the club in the Roddy Collins era, Timlin has come into the frame in recent weeks and has a very good chance of starting in midfield on Sunday.

"I think the game will be won in midfield on Sunday. We both play a similar style of football, we get the ball down and play it as do Pats, so whichever midfield is strong on the day will win it," Timlin told The Herald.

"Since Peter Hutton has come into the job I have been playing regularly and it's been great for me. I have done well under Pizza and my form is good heading into the final.

"We can do well next season, there is massive potential here and the ambition from Pizza and the club is to go on next season and be title contenders.

"You look at Dundalk, going from strugglers to title contenders and then league winners in two years. It doesn't take a lot to turn things around and we have the talent here to deliver and do well but it's mentality as well.

"At times this season I don't think we had the self-belief. Maybe we felt in the dressing room that we were beat before the game started but if we can change that from the start next season we can be contenders, and winning the Cup on Sunday would be a great way to finish off the season."

Timlin was spotted playing for local club Buncrana Hearts and he turned down an offer from Preston to join Ipswich as a 16-year-old, on the recommendation of fellow Buncrana lad Conor O'Donnell, now at UCD.

After three seasons his time was up but Ipswich U21 team manager Mark Kennedy - the former Ireland man - tipped off Derry and the move went through, a move which has worked well for the club and for Timlin, who hopes to get another chance at full-time football in England

"The Airtricity League is a great stage to play on. You see the players who have come through, like (Seamus) Coleman and (James) McClean," he says.

"The standard of the league is underestimated all the time as those players came out of this league and never looked out of place at a high level in England. I would hope to get back across to England again but not right away, I think I'd need a good pre-season with Derry next year, establish myself in the team next season and anything is possible then."