DERRY CITY: Shiels plays down Mikhail Kennedy talks

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has played down reports linking Charlton's Mikhail Kennedy with the Candy Stripes.
Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has played down reports linking Charlton's Mikhail Kennedy with the Candy Stripes.

KENNY SHIELS has played down speculation linking Derry City with highly rated Charlton Athletic striker, Mikhail Kennedy.

It’s been reported that Shantallow native, Kennedy was in advanced talks with the ‘Candy Stripes’ about securing a potential loan move before the Airtricity Premier Division campaign gets underway next week.

However, Shiels was keeping his cards close to his chest when questioned today about a reported approach to the talented N. Ireland U23 international.

In fact, the Derry boss simply stated that Kennedy was a Charlton Athletic player and denied the player had signed for Derry City.

“At this moment in time I have not signed Mikhail Kennedy,” stated the Derry boss. “Derry City has not signed him and that’s where we’re at.”

The former St. Columb’s College student has been firing in the goals for Charlton’s Under-23 team recently and netted twice in the Addicks’ 5-2 win over Middlesbrough at Greenwich Borough’s DGS Marine Stadium in the Premier League Cup on Monday afternoon.

TOP FORM . . . Charlton striker, Mikhail Kennedy.

TOP FORM . . . Charlton striker, Mikhail Kennedy.

Kennedy has netted seven times in the last three matches which has led to calls for the player to be called into Charlton boss, Karl Robinson’s first team squad who ply their trade in League One.

The 20-years-old attacker was delighted with his latest brace of goals. “Brilliant win and fight from the lads beating Middlesbrough 5-2! Another two. That’s seven in three.” he tweeted.

It’s understood several clubs are interested in taking the player on loan, therefore Derry would have a battle on their hands should they be interested.

Meanwhile, Bristol City defender, Kodi Lyons-Foster has returned to the ‘Robins’ following his recent trial period and Shiels is uncertain about whether he will pursue his interest in the centre back.

At this moment in time I have not signed Mikhail Kennedy. Derry City has not signed him and that’s where we’re at.

Kenny Shiels

“He’s gone back to Bristol,” confirmed the Derry boss. “I honestly don’t know what will happen there.”

Billy Kee Memorial Cup

Meanwhile, Derry City’s pre-season preparations continue on Wednesday night when they take on Institute in the annual Billy Kee Memorial Cup at the Riverside Stadium.

And Shiels is expecting a tough game against the talented Drumahoe outfit.

“Billy (Kee) was slightly outside my generation but I know Paul very well and we want to have a good fixture - a good competitive game with Institute,” he said. “They have a lot of very good Derry players and we’re aware of that.”

Shiels has been pleased with his side’s progress during their pre-season campaign.

“We’ve had some good games and we’re trying to make sure we get plenty of running. It’s all about the conditioning of the players at this stage in pre-season.”

With just 10 days to go before the opening game of the new season against Bohemians at Dalymount, is Shiels happy with the strength and depth of his squad?

“We’re not 100 per cent filled up yet.

“We’re still a bit thin on the ground and we have to accept that you can’t build Rome in a day.

“We have some young players coming through who might not be ready yet, but we’ll see what happens.”

This week’s Derry City Lotto numbers for £2,650, sponsored by Kitcheneque, were 3, 7, 8, 21.