DERRY City’s Danny Lafferty got through his first training session with Brighton yesterday and the 22-year-old full-back is now expected to take his place in a game at Reading today.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The former Celtic defender trained with the Brighton Development Squad yesterday and given his experience with a hamstring problem when at Derby County on trial a few weeks ago, he was relieved to have got through the session.
“I had my first hamstring problem when playing in a practise match for Derby County and, obviously, that was a worry but I knew I was okay having got treatment when I returned home.
“I also trained with the Derry City Under-19s and my schoolboy club, Oxford Stars, so I felt fine and I didn’t look out of place in the training session or anything like that,” said the Carnhill man.
Having taken time to wander around the holiday venue on the south coast of England yesterday afternoon, the left-back said he liked the surroundings and was enjoyed his stay.
“I can’t take anything for granted but I’ve been well looked after by the club. I’m staying in top hotel until Thursday and the club’s Liaison Officer has been looking after me since my arrival. It’s a very nice town and while it’s considered one of the major holiday resorts in England, they tell me thousands of tourists spend their holidays in Brighton every summer.
“I had a walk around the place and I liked it and found it very friendly,” added Danny.
Scouted in Tallaght Stadium
Predictably, Lafferty refused to take anything for granted but he was aware that Brighton had been following him for quite some time. Indeed, the club’s chief scout was present in Tallaght Stadium when Lafferty produced a superb performance for Derry at the tail end of last season before the “Candy Stripes” lost the game on a narrow 1-0 scoreline.
“I’ve got an opportunity to move across the Channel and that’s all I’ve got. I can’t afford to take anything for granted and while I’m aware that the clubs have been talking, I intend to keep my head down, work hard while here and, hopefully, give a good impression when I play against Reading on Tuesday.
“I’m certainly not getting carried away. I’ve been at Celtic for quite some time and while that didn’t work out for me, I felt I’ve learned a lot since then and I know what to expect,” he continued.
“I haven’t played a match for over five weeks but I feel fit and sharp and I feel well within myself. I’m looking forward to the game against Reading and, as far as I know, I’ll be training with the first team on Wednesday and Thursday before returning home.”
He certainly enjoying the style of play adopted in Monday’s training session.
“The coaches have a big concentration on passing the ball and retaining possession with suits me fine and I enjoyed the session. I’ve been told the same type of situation is deployed by the first team coaches with passing the name of the game.
“It appears to be a very ambitious Championship club with a fabulous new stadium and a millionaire owner so, who knows, what will happen. I think it’s a great opportunity and it’s certainly one I would hope to take advantage of.”
Lafferty has also kept an eye on the challenge ahead, noting that so many of the players now operating in the Championship have all enjoyed Premiership experience.
“Some of the clubs have massive first team squads with players who have played at the top level. And having opened their new Amex Stadium, the club hopes to push on and, at some stage, play in the top flight of English football. It’s an exciting time for the club and in Gus Poyet, they have a manager who certainly wants to succeed.
“I’ve been told that he will be present at Tuesday’s game, so it’s important that I work hard and do what I’m told. I’ve already spoken to a number of the club’s coaching staff and they’ve all wished me well.
“I’ve remained positive since I’ve arrived and while I’m looking forward to the game, I’m also looking forward to training with the first team squad on Wednesday and Thursday. So far it’s been a positive experience and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will go well for me,” he concluded.
Zayed in demand?
Meanwhile, last season’s PFAI “Player of the Year” and leading league marksman, Eamon Zayed, is understood to be interesting both Sligo Rovers and Cork City, the Dubliner having joined the PFAI’s out of contract panel following the end of the 2011 season.
The striker, who netted 22 goals for Derry City is understood to have been contacted by both Paul Cook and Cork boss and former “Candy Stripe,” Tommy Dunne with a view to joining them.
In addition. Zayed is understood to have travelled to the Middle East to play for an Asian club but sources close to the player have suggested that he didn’t enjoy the experience.
It is clear that Zayed would be interested in returning to the Brandywell for another season but, until the local club makes contact, he believes he should check out any options open to him before making a decision on his future.