RODDY COLLINS has identified former N. Ireland senior international winger, Ivan Sproule as his next target and confirmed he will open talks with the Castlederg man today (Wednesday) in Scotland.
As the new Derry City boss intensifies his player search across Channel this week, he revealed his first stop on a week long trip across England and Scotland will be at Ross County where he will hold ‘face-to-face’ talks with Sproule.
The Dubliner yesterday confirmed that the wheels are already in motion in attempts to secure the signature of the former Bristol City and Hibernian man after Sproule made the surprise decision to leave Scottish Premier League outfit Ross County at the weekend.
It’s understood the 32 year-old, who has a young family, is unsettled in the Scottish Highlands and is keen on a return home to N. Ireland.
Ross County announced at the weekend that they have agreed to terminate the player’s contract with “immediate effect” due to personal and family reasons”, which will no doubt alert several clubs in both the Irish League and League of Ireland.
A club spokesman said: “Ross County Football Club have mutually agreed to terminate the contract of Ivan Sproule with immediate effect due to personal and family reasons and his desire to return to Northern Ireland.
“Ross County would like to warmly thank Ivan for his contribution to the club as a player and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”
Should Collins prove successful in convincing Sproule to sign on the dotted line for the Brandywell club, it would be a notable acquisition considering his experience and goalscoring capabilities.
Collins considers Sproule as an attractive option as he attempts to boost City’s attacking stocks having already re-signed the league’s top goalscorer, Rory Patterson last week and added former Athlone striker, Enda Curran last Saturday.
And with Mark Griffin looking like moving on to pastures new this week, Sproule would be a welcome addition.
“I’ve an appointment to meet Ivan this week,” revealed Collins.
“I’ll meet him on Wednesday (tomorrow). He’s a local lad and is someone I feel will be a good addition.
“So we’ll have a chat with him and see what his ambitions are and what his plans are for the future.
“I’ve spoken to a few people at Ross County in the last few days and it seems a genuine case of the player not being settled at the club for whatever reasons. He appears to want to come home.
“I’ll tell him my plans and if it excites him we’ll sit down and have a chat.
“If he buys into what we want to do then I’d be delighted to have a chat with him.
“I’ve made contact with him through a third party and I’ll be sitting face-to-face with him on Wednesday. We’ll have a good chat and we’ll take it from there.”
Sproule, who has made 11 senior international apppearances for N. Ireland, had been with Ross County since joining from Hibernian in January this year.
The Co. Tyrone man made 24 appearances for the ‘Staggies’, netting eight goals.
A former Institute player, Sproule previously had two spells with Hibs, either side of stints playing with Bristol City, Yeovil Town and Notts County.
After sealing the transfer of Galway native Curran at the weekend, Collins said he will focus his search for further additions to his squad outside of Ireland.
And the Dubliner claimed he has several targets in mind and will make further enquiries this week.
“Other than Sproule I’ll not be looking at signing anyone else for a while yet,” he said. “I want to get the right players.
“I’m going across the water to have a look this week and I’ve made a few appointments.
“I’m looking at three or four options but other than that there will be nothing local or from the Airtricity League,” said Collins.
Meanwhile, new recruit Enda Curran claims he will benefit from working alongside Derry City striker, Patterson.
The 21 year-old Galwegian who worked under Collins at First Division champions, Athlone last year, was delighted to sign for the Brandywell club.
“Joining a club with the history and the support that Derry City have is a dream come true for me,” he said.
“I’ve admired Rory (Patterson) for a while now - he’s a deadly finisher of the ball and his link-up play is top notch.
“I really hope that he can teach me a few things and hopefully he will help me become a better player.”.
The winner of the Derry City Monthly Draw for November was Sean O’Kane from Hampstead Park.
The winning number was 470 and Sean will receive £1,000.