DERRY CITY: Peter Hutton enters race for want-away Ports striker Darren Murray

WANTED MAN . . .Portadown striker, Darren Murray is on Derry City's radar.

WANTED MAN . . .Portadown striker, Darren Murray is on Derry City's radar.

  • Peter Hutton declares interest in Portadown striker Darren Murray
  • The former Donegal Celtic man is understood to favour a move to Cliftonville
  • Murray handed in a transfer request on Tuesday but Ports boss Ronnie McFall wants him to stay
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DERRY CITY has entered the race to sign want-away Portadown striker, Darren Murray but City boss, Peter Hutton claims he’s not prepared to get involved in a ‘bidding war’ with Cliftonville who remain favourites for his signature.

Portadown manager, Ronnie McFall is reluctant to allow the 23 year-old to leave Shamrock Park but it’s understood the club would expect at least £25,000 for the striker which would likely price Derry out of any potential transfer talks.

Ex-Donegal Celtic man, Murray, signed a two-year contract with the Ports midway through last season, but that hasn’t deterred Irish Premiership sides, Cliftonville and Linfield who are also actively pursing his signature.

Hutton, who is on the look-out for a new striker, has also made approaches to Portadown, enquiring about Murray’s availability earlier this week and the player has since handed in a transfer request.

The Derry boss insists the Brandywell club will be in no position to enter into a bidding process with clubs with the superior financial clout of the ‘Belfast Blues’ and the ‘Reds’.

However, he has refused to rule out making a bid for the player, should he be interested in coming to Foyleside and if the price is right.

Murray is understood to favour a move to Solitude but Hutton will be waiting in the wings should he get any indication the player is interested in swapping the Irish League for the League of Ireland.

“I spoke to Ronnie McFall about him (Murray) to see if there was any leeway there but Ronnie was of the opinion he was going to be staying with them.

“I know circumstances have changed slightly in that Darren has put in a transfer request and he’s been heavily linked with Cliftonville so I don’t know what the permutations are of that. He’s certainly a player I think could do a job for us - he ticks all the right boxes.

“But if it gets into a bidding war, we’ll not be involved. Cliftonville just received £60,000 from Peterborough for Joe Gormley and they’re looking to replace him. We would certainly be interested if he became available.

I know circumstances have changed slightly in that Darren has put in a transfer request and he’s been heavily linked with Cliftonville. He’s certainly a player I think could do a job for us - he ticks all the right boxes.

Peter Hutton

Ex-Swansea striker move ruled out

Meanwhile, Hutton has ruled out the possibility of signing his former Cliftonville teammate, Rory Donnelly (pictured) who was recently released from English Premiership club, Swansea.

Derry did make enquiries about the talented hitman following his release, but he’s likely to remain across Channel.

“I played with Rory up at Cliftonville, he’s a top quality young player,” said Hutton. “But I think his price bracket is out of our reach. And I think he’s signing for an English club in the very near future.”

Hutton is also running his eye over ex- Celtic youth striker, Paul George and he is hoping to see a bit more of the player before making a decision on his future.

“He’s been training with us and doing well. He’s steadily improving since he’s been here. He’d be first to admit he’s a bit off the pace given he hasn’t played much recently. But you can see he has something about him and we’ll be keen to chat to him about staying on to train with us”