Even as we still savour Derry City’s sensational FAI Cup triumph, manager Declan Devine and his assistant, Paul Hegarty, will be hard at work looking to strengthen the squad for next season.
The club clearly has the nucleus of a good side but if Simon Madden opts to move on, it will be a big blow in my view.
The 23-year-old Dubliner is arguably the best right-back in the Premier League and because of that he has attracted the attention of other clubs.
However, no matter who comes or goes, Derry is, potentially, a top four side but to challenge for Sligo’s league title would require an extra three or four quality players added to our current squad.
On one front, however, the “Candy Stripes” are the envy of the rest of the league and that’s on producing home grown talent.
Much of the credit for this goes to the youth and reserve team coaches Eddie Seydak, John Quigg and Hugh Harkin but also right down to the club’s underage coaches and all of them should be proud of their contribution.
The club’s future needs to be built on the foundation of a strong youth set-up but it only works if the talent is available and the first team manager is fully behind the workings of the Academy.
That is clearly the case at the moment at the Brandywell and long may it continue. I look forward to the emergence of more James McCleans, Kevin Derrys, Barry McNamees coming through the ranks to wear the ‘Candy Stripes’ with distinction.