DECLAN Devine refuses to close the Brandywell Gates on Simon Madden’s possible return to Derry City for the 2013 season, but the “Candy Stripes” boss will have his work cut out!
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
However, while the 23-years-old Dubliner is known to have opened negotiations with other clubs, it’s also understood that he may opt to further his future at home despite having thoroughly enjoyed his season on Foyleside.
But the Derry boss, Devine, has not given up on keeping the player at Brandywell but he was fully aware of the arguments for and against. Currently based in Dublin for three days, during which he will continue his Pro-Licence Coaching Badge at the Aviva Stadium, the Creggan man refused to rule out Madden’s return for next season.
“I expect to meet up with Simon on Tuesday night (tonight) to discuss his future as he has yet to make a decision,” declared Devine.
“Simon was excellent for us last season and as we believe he is the best right full-back in the country, we obviously want to keep him for another year at least,” he added.
“There’s no doubt that his performances during the 2012 campaign have alerted quite a few clubs and I’m aware that interest has been expressed in him moving on, so I’ve opted to wait until we can meet face-to-face before a decision is finally made.
“I intend to do that on Tuesday night but I’m hopeful that having played in and won the FAI Cup final and with the Europa League football and the Setanta Sports Cup to look forward to next season, Simon may opt to remain with us for another year,” claimed the Brandywell boss.
While Devine admitted that he had heard rumours that other clubs had made approaches to the player in an attempt to sign him, he decided not to name names.
However, sources in Dublin have confirmed that Madden has already spoken to newly promoted Limerick who, under Pat Scully, actually train in Dublin with so many players from that area signed by the Munster club.
In addition, the football grapevine has also suggested the defender has spoken to and is due to again meet Shamrock Rovers’ representatives who have already signed James McGuinness (ex-Sligo Rovers) and James Chambers (St. Patrick’s Athletic) for next year’s campaign already.
“I’m aware that other clubs are interested and that’s not a surprise given Simon’s performances last year but I am keeping my fingers crossed that he would like to spend another season with us as he has clearly enjoyed everything about Derry during the last campaign.
“I think he really enjoyed his football due to the fact that he was happy living up here with us and he regularly commented very favourably on how he was treated both at the club and by the Derry public in general,” continued Devine.
“He’s an outstanding young man who, as I’ve said, was excellent for us. I’ve already made it clear that everyone at the club wants to see him stay with us, so I think our meeting on Tuesday night will see that decision made.”
Sources close to the player claim that Madden would prefer to return to Dublin for the 2013 season and now that he has attracted the attention of at least two clubs, it would be fair to suggested that he will not be returning to Foyleside.
His long-term girlfriend is currently involved in a course at UCD and will be remain there for at least another year, and that has been difficult for Madden during this year’s campaign.
“I would openly admit that offering Simon a 40 weeks contract will not make us favourites to sign him, particularly if other clubs in the mix are prepared to offer him wages for 52 weeks. However, on the other hand he now realises what Derry City is all about and he is also aware of the potential we have at the Brandywell.
“He has thoroughly enjoyed his stay with us and having settled into the group so well, we can only hope that he will think about staying for another season given that he will be playing European football in the summer.”
Davy Awaiting New Deal
Meanwhile, the second of Derry two players currently out of contract, David McDaid, will also have his future sorted out this week as the club’s leading goalscorer will meet with Devine on his return from Dublin.
And McDaid is another player Devine has high hopes of keeping on Derry City’s books after he emerged the club’s leading hitman having netted a total of 17 goals this season.
“To be honest, I’m still waiting on the budget for next season before I can finalise anything but I’ve decided to at least open negotiations with our out-of-contract players in the meantime.
“And Davy McDaid is a player I certainly want to keep given his work rate, commitment and, of course, his goal scoring ability from last season. I want to keep our best players and Davy fits into that bracket.”
McDaid, a local 21-years-old, who has also spent time at Sligo Rovers and Finn Harps, was given an opportunity to impress this season by Devine and the player has taken full advantage.
Netted Vital Goals
“The success he achieved this season is down to his application and commitment,” continued Devine. “He took full advantage of what was a horrendous injury crisis and netted no shortage of vital goals for us, having led the front line so well.
“Like Simon Madden, Davy has also enjoyed an outstanding season - the best in his career to date - and while he knew he was not guaranteed to play in every game given the quality of the strikers we had at the club, he stepped up to the plate and completed the season as our top goalscorer.
“I also felt Davy’s work rate and tenacity in the FAI Cup final was second to none, having literally run himself into the ground and at 21-years-old, I think he will get better and better after last season’s experience,” claimed the Derry boss.
“But we must also be on the lookout for other players who we believe would strengthen our squad for the 2013 campaign and as I’m in Dublin for the next few days, I also hope to have a few discussions with other players interested in trying their luck at the Brandywell.
“Conor Murphy is one such player. We signed him from Monaghan during the season and we believe he is another young player with potential.
“Last year’s signings, which included Simon Madden, Stewart Greacen, Dermot McCaffrey and Rory Patterson all seem to have fitted in really well and with the emergence of our young players such as Ryan Curran, Barry McNamee, Caoimhinn Bonner, Michael Duffy and Michael Barr, I think we certainly have the nucleus of a top quality side.
“That said, you can never say never when it comes to adding experienced players to the panel. So we’ll wait and see what develops over the next few weeks and, hopefully, we will be in a position to add to faces to bolster the squad for Derry’s City of Culture celebrations of which we hope to play our part.”