BRANDYWELL favourite, Stewart Greacen, will rejoin his former team-mates in Dublin today for Derry City’s three day training camp, the Scot suggesting that he simply couldn’t refuse Declan Devine’s invitation.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And the 30-year-old also admitted that he would have talks with Devine in relation to a new contract with the “Candy Stripes” now that he has been released by Glentoran.
However, he heaped praise on the Irish League club who, he said, were “very understanding” with his request for a release from his 18 months contract.
“I realised a few weeks after signing for Glentoran that it wasn’t working out,” he said.
“I flew in from Scotland for matches and flew back out again the same day. However, while it certainly made life easier at home, training with a different club in Scotland didn’t help me on the playing front and I realised it was not working out.
“Thankfully, Glentoran took my request on board and agreed to release me. I need full-tme training with any club I would be playing for. I found it very difficult playing with players in competitive games, players I hadn’t trained with and didn’t really know.”
While he had hoped to remain in Scotland, a telephone call from Devine earlier this week, inviting the centre-back over for three days of intensive training in Dublin, certainly appealed to him.
“I was delighted that Declan rang me and invited me over to Dublin for the weekend for training and, obviously, I would expect that we may be talking to each other about a possible return to Derry City.
“It’s no secret that I really enjoyed last season with a group of great lads that I hadn’t met before. I enjoyed the training and playing in games and I would like to think that I played my part in helping the club challenge for the Premier Division title.
“It was an experience I have not forgotten. As I said when my contract was up, I would always approach negotiations with Derry City with a very open mind and that hasn’t changed.
“I think it will be nice to meet all the lads again and while James McClean and Danny Lafferty have moved on to greater things, I think quite a few of last year’s squad has remained in place.
“But I’m old enough and wise enough to know I can’t take anything for granted about a return to the club. But I do hope to have discussions with both Declan and Paul Hegarty - who I’ve yet to meet - in relation to the future as I remain a free agent,” concluded the Scot.
Early Start This Morning
Meanwhile, a squad of 20 players left Derry at 5.30 this morning bound for Dublin, the Brandywell club’s backroom staff anxious to get full value out of this weekend’s training camp.
And while Devine admitted that Greacen would be collected at Dublin Airport, he also insisted that nothing had been discussed in relation to the defender’s possible return to the Brandywell.
“Having learned that he was released by Glentoran, I made a telephone call to Stewart and he said he would be delighted to join us for three days training in Dublin,” answered the Derry boss.
“However, there’s not been any contractual talks, but once we get chatting face to face, we’ll get a clearer picture of his situation. He was a big player for us last year and I’m sure the future will be clearer come Sunday evening.”
Commenting on the camp at Johnstown House, Devine was happy with the organisation.
“Normally we would have rigorous sessions in pre-season camps, but with the Setanta Cup and, indeed, the new season almost on top of us, most of the training will be ball-related and working on improvements on and changes to our shape.
“But it’s also a good opportunity for new players to get to know the rest of the lads and I’ve no doubt that it will prove a fruitful exercise.”
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