‘Clancy, Byrne are priority signings’ - Derry boss Collins

Celtic v Hibernian.  Tim Clancy scores equaliser for Hibs to make it 1-1. And celebrates. Picture Robert Perry The Scotsman 1st Sept 2012
Celtic v Hibernian. Tim Clancy scores equaliser for Hibs to make it 1-1. And celebrates. Picture Robert Perry The Scotsman 1st Sept 2012
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HAVING been released from their contract held by their respective clubs, Hibernian and Oldham Athletic, Derry City manager, Roddy Collins, will re-double his efforts to sign both Tim Clancy and Cliff Byrne for the 2014 Airtricity League season.

However, the Dubliner admitted that he can’t afford to take anything for granted as both his targets may well have other irons in the fire.

“I’ve spoken to Cliff Byrne and he’s assured me that if he can’t secure terms with Carlisle United this week, he will be returning to Ireland to represent Derry City,” claimed Collins last night.

“Tim Clancy will arrive in Derry tomorrow or Thursday to take part in a few training sessions with us and I’m hopeful he will sign on the dotted line after we have further talks as he is keen on returning home.”

And Collins also agreed that having identified so many possible targets over recent weeks in the media without actually signing any new players, Collins said he was not losing sleep after offers to some players had not been met with agreement.

“Iarlaith Davoren has opted to travel to the USA in the hope of securing a contract with an American club, while Kyle De Silva has unfortunately busted his hamstring.

“Leon McSweeney is waiting to see what develops before the Transfer Window closes following our discussions, but I’ve not closed the door on him just yet,” conitnued Collins.

Defensive signings

the priority

But he did admit that securing the services of Clancy and Byrne would go a long way to halt the constant concession of goals which had plagued the Brandywell club last season.

“Derry conceded more goals than any club in the top four yet they actually scored more,” noted Collins.

“So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to acknowledge where the club’s problems lay.

“Therefore, the signing of at least one experienced centre-back is a priority for me as I believe both Clancy and Byrnes are top, top players.

“I’d love to see Clancy dominating our back four. He’s a born leader and while he’s had his injury problems, I think he would prove to be a hero at the Brandywell.

“Cliff Byrnes is another experienced pro having captained Scunthorpe in the Championship.

“Tim will be with us over the next 48 hours while Cliff has told me that he cannot make a decision until next week due to the fact that Carlisle are believed to be prepared to make an offer.

“He’s a free agent and he’s told me that if Carlisle don’t sign him, then he’ll be coming to us. I’m aware that Carlisle are attempting to get a player from QPR in on loan and, if they do, Cliff’s services will not be required so I have to wait and see.”

Another young defender is understood to have agreed to travel over to Derry for a day’s training, as he’s already received an offer to join Scottish club, Dumbarton.

Young defender, Aaron Barry, has been “paid up” by Partick Thistle and, according to his agent, will travel over for one day should a Derry City offer be forthcoming.

However, while refusing to rule out such a scenario, Collins has opted to hold fire in the meantime.

Stewart to sign by fax today

Meanwhile, while offers to Davoren and McSweeney were not accepted, former Kilmarnock striker, Mark Stewart, has agreed to sign on a one season contract.

It’s understood the player will sign the necessary documentation today by fax and Collins was delighted that he had added another new face to the squad.

“Mark is an exciting player. He’s a great signing as he can play on either side of the main striker or even play through the middle.

“So we now boast four talented strikers which not only gives me options, but also vital competition for places and I’m not finished just yet,” he insisted.

“Mark will join Rory Patterson, Enda Curran and Ryan Curran, but I’ve also kept the possibility of signing Akanni-Sunday Wasiu alive in the meantime.

“He’s in London at the moment and it’s possible that I may opt to fly him over to see how he is over the next few days, but we’ll see how things go this week,” concluded the Derry boss.