DERRY City’s new management team spent a busy weekend holding talks with those players who represented the “Candy Stripes” last season.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And discussions will continue with those players both in contract and out of contract as Declan Devine and Paul Hegarty attempt to formulate a squad which will start the pre-season programme tomorrow evening.
However, this season it would appear that all players will be given the opportunity to secure employment outside the Brandywell and training sessions will be organised to suit.
Indeed, it’s expected that Derry City players will train every Sunday morning in addition to sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Devine admitted that he experienced a very busy 24 hours in his new position, having spent much of time on the telephone speaking to players, both old and new.
“We spent all day Saturday on the telephone speaking with players who represented the club last season and we made contact with others who may be interested in a move to the Brandywell this season,” he confirmed.
“But the fact is that we are about two weeks behind in our pre-season plans with our first competitive match scheduled for either Monday or Tuesday, February 13th or 14th in the Setanta Sports Cup campaign and that’s a competition we would like to do well in this year,” said the new boss.
On the team front, Paul and I have targeted players we believe will prove adequate replacements to the players we have already lost. But we’ve also spoken to players who are out of and currently in contract.
“We’ve also planned our pre-season campaign as we believe we are behind where we should have been at this stage but, then again, that can’t be helped. Our first competitive match will take place in four weeks and we must be ready for that.”
As an unseeded team in the competition, Derry will draw either Glentoran, Cliftonville, Portadown or Lisburn Distillery in a two-legged preliminary round fixture. That draw to take place in Dublin on January 25th next.
“All players must be prepared to come within our structures. They must reside in the Derry area and be prepared to work hard as the intensity of pre-season in previous years will be maintained.”
Devine will also be speaking with physio, Colum O’Neill and goalkeeping coach, Brian Hutchinson, in an effort to retain their services for the 2012 campaign.
“Hopefully, the backroom team will remain intact and I’ve already had a chat with Eddie Seydak, John Quigg and Hugh Harkin and we’ll meet again this week to discuss the way forward and how they see things.
“We’ve lost quality players and, indeed, squad players from last year and while it will not be easy to replace like with like, Paul and I are adamant that we will formulate a squad capable of competing at the top level,” he concluded.