SIMON MADDEN is expected to bid a fond farewell to to the Brandywell club after next Sunday’s FAI Cup Final against St Patrick’s Athletic in the Aviva Stadium.
SIMON COLLINS reports
While the talented defender refused to discuss his immediate future before the cup final, it’s understood he is pondering other available options with several League of Ireland clubs predictably declaring an interest in the 24- year-old Dubliner.
The defender has been a revelation for Derry this season and, despite enjoying what he believes is the ‘best form of his career,’ the November 4th showpiece is likely to be his swansong for Declan Devine’s side on a day that will also signal the departure of City’s all-time top goalscorer, Mark Farren.
Madden’s imminent departure will, no doubt, prove a significant blow for Derry given that the former Dundalk player has made the right-back berth his own since his move from the ‘Lilywhites’ at the start of the 2012 season.
And commenting at the FAI Cup Final ‘media day’ at Brandywell Stadium on Wednesday, Madden claimed he was keeping his options open until after the final, despite ongoing talks with Declan Devine and the Derry City Board.
“We’ve sat down a few times to talk about a new contract and the club is keen, but I don’t want to talk about any of that before the cup final,” said Madden.
“I want to get the final out of the way first and then I can concentrate and see what I have to do after that,” he added.
“There will be a few factors that come into making my decision, but I’ve really enjoyed myself in Derry and I’m delighted with the way I’ve been playing.”
Having joined the ‘Candy Stripes’ in the hope of challenging for major honours, Madden is delighted to be playing a part in the FAI Cup final next Sunday.
Having secured a runners-up medal in the Setanta Cup Final when representing Dundalk in 2011 and re-lived that disappointment with Derry City in their penalty shoot-out defeat to Crusaders earlier this year.
Therefore, the attacking full-back, who netted the first goal in the 2-1 victory over cup final opponents St Pat’s in the club’s final league game of the season, is determined not to finish on the losing side in a third final in a row.
“I joined Derry for these big occasions and I knew the club would suit my play as well,” said the Dubliner.
“The way I’ve played this season, it has probably been the best I’ve ever played and I’ve really, really enjoyed it.
“It’s probably down to the manager who has just told me to go out and play and enjoy myself. Obviously we have some very good players here who can pass the ball well and it’s just worked well for me.
“I’ve played in the last two Setanta Cup Final over the past two years and lost both of them and it was a horrible feeling losing those finals. So hopefully we’ll be on the right side in the FAI Cup Final and I can get a winners’ medal.
“Anything can happen on the day. We’re slight underdogs which maybe adds a little more pressure on St Pat’s but anything can happen on Cup Final day.
“The Aviva is a great stadium, and a massive pitch as well so I think it will need a lot of hard work to get the right result. Both teams will need to work really hard to win the trophy.
“Our form going into the game has been pretty good, we have a bit of momentum and I think the way Pat’s play and the way we play there will be a lot of attacking football in the final.
“All my family and friends will be going to the game so lets hope there will be a big crowd and plenty of support for ourselves,” he concluded.