FORMER BRAY Wanderers midfielder, Sean Houston, insists that the lure of playing Europa League football next season was a major factor when making his decision to move to Brandywell Stadium this week.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The 23-year-old Letterkenny native, who began his career with Ulster Senior League side, Fanad United, signed a one year deal with the ‘Candy Stripes’ on Wednesday afternoon and is looking forward the start of the 2013 season with the reigning FAI Cup champions.
“I’m excited about the season ahead,” said the former Finn Harps and UCD man.
“Derry are looking to progress from last season, they’re a very successful club so I’m definitely excited about coming here.
“Everyone wants to play European football at some stage in their career, so I’m just really looking forward to getting started.”
Houston was first alerted to interest from Derry City when assistant boss, Paul Hegarty got in contact three weeks before the end of the 2012 season and it was always going to be an easy decision for the Co. Donegal lad.
“About three weeks before the end of the season I got a phone call from Paul Hegarty and I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity. So I watched the FAI Cup final with some interest,” he smiled.
“I’m back living in Donegal and Derry are probably the biggest teams in the North-West and one of the biggest teams in Ireland, so it really was an easy decision.”
The versatile Houston, who can operate in midfield, attack or defence, played 24 times for the ‘Seagulls’ last season and impressed when playing in Bray’s 3-2 loss at Brandywell last May.
His favoured position is in the central midfield but he’s willing to play anywhere in his bid to break into the starting XI.
“It’s a very strong squad with the likes of Barry Molloy and Kevin Deery in midfield so it will be very difficult to break in, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve played a bit up front and at left-back as well but I would play anywhere to be honest just to get into the team.”.
Derry boss, Declan Devine, is excited about the addition of Houston and he believes his squad for next season is beginning to take shape.
“Sean is a very good central midfield player who can play in 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations, he can fill in at centre-back or left-back,” said the Derry boss.
“He likes to get forward, he has a physical presence and a player we wanted to bring to the club. He had a great season with Bray Wanderers and I’m delighted he has decided to join us.
“Other clubs such as Drogheda were keen on him and the fact that he’s living in Letterkenny was obviously a help.
“He’s got a very good work ethic and he wants to improve therefore, he will prove a good addition to the squad.”
Following last season’s horrendous injury problems, Devine is keen to have plenty of competition for places in 2013 and he’s delighted with the way his current squad is shaping up.
“We want to have competition for places and we must learn our lessons from last year,” added the Derry supremo.
“Every area must be covered because we have so many games this year. There’s a lot to look forward to and we will need a big squad.
“We’re ahead of schedule so far. I’m very happy with the signings we’ve made so far and feel they all bring quality to the group and an eagerness to play for Derry city which is very important,” he concluded.