The deal to bring striker Marc Griffin to Derry City could be days away, the Sunday Journal understands.
Griffin, 22, has been linked with a move to the Brandywell since his contract with Dundalk F.C. expired in 2012. However, as the player is under the age of 23, the Lilywhites are entitled to compensation and negotiations between the two clubs have been ongoing.
Speaking to the Sunday Journal from a training session at St. Mary’s College on the Northland Road, Derry City boss, Declan Devine, said he remained optimistic that Australian-born Griffin would follow his former team-mate at Dundalk F.C., Michael Rafter, to the Brandywell.
“Our interest in Marc Griffin is perhaps the worst kept secret,” said Devine.
“There’s no real change to Marc’s situation but I am confident that a deal will be done before the transfer deadline on February 22.”
Derry City will take on local Irish League side Institute F.C. in the Billy Kee Memorial Trophy at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow evening. It’s Derry’s first pre-season friendly since the squad returned to training over two weeks ago.
“I don’t imagine too many players playing in both halves,” declared Devine.
“I am pleased with how the players have developed in training over the last few weeks but I intend to use the game to give some players more game time than others.
“Although it’s a friendly, it will still be very competitive.”
Whilst Derry City fans who travel to the Riverside Stadium tomorrow evening will be keen to see new signings Alan Crawley, Paddy Kavanagh, Michael Rafter and Sean Houston, Devine said he is looking forward to taking in players such as Michael Duffy and Ryan Curran.
“I am really excited about our young players this year.
“I know people will want to see the likes of Michael Rafter and Sean Houston on Monday but to be honest, we’ve promoted three of our young players from last year and given them professional contracts. I am looking forward to watching how Tony McNamee, Ryan Curran and Michael Duffy get on.
“I think our young players can make a real impact this season. All you have to do is look at how young Barry McNamee took the bull by the horns last year. I think his younger brother, Tony McNamee, will turn a few heads this year too,” said Devine.
The Candy Stripes have alternated between various training venues in Donegal, Derry and Tyrone. Devine stressed his appreciation for everyone who has helped the club so far during their pre-season training schedule.
“We are training in St. Mary’s College today [Saturday] and in recent weeks Aileach F.C. on Inch Island let us use their training facilities, as have Magee University and Holy Cross College in Strabane.
“Myself and the entire team are so grateful for what everyone has done for us. It makes my job so much easier when the players are able to train using such state-of the-art facilities,” he said.