THE FRONT RUNNERS

Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE
Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

RODDY Collins and Sean Connor are the front runners in the race for the vacant Derry City manager’s job, the “Journal” has learned.

It’s believed that both individuals have been spoken to informally by members of the Derry City Board of Directors with interviews expected to take place later this week.

Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.

Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.

Former Drogheda United boss, Mick Cooke and last season’s head coach at UCD, Martin Russell, have also been linked to the Derry job.

In fact, it’s understood that the Derry Board has received applications from at least 15 individuals interested in the post, but quite a few of those applications have already been discarded.

When contacted last night, the “Candy Stripes” Chief Executive Officer, Sean Barrett, opted to play his cards close to his chest, but he did admit that a meeting of the Board of Directors had been arranged for last night and at that meeting a short-list of candidates to be interviewed would be agreed.

“Our chairman has now returned from a business trip to America and we have completed our research into several of the candidates who have applied for the post,” confirmed Mr. Barrett.

“Obviously, we intend to honour the confidentiality of the candidates who have applied, some through agents and other representatives, but the Board has agreed that interviews would be offered to three or, possibly, four candidates with the hope that an appointment would be made sooner rather than later,” added the C.E.O.

Mr. Barrett also confirmed that a number of those who had applied had managerial experience in England, Scotland and Ireland with a few other individuals tendering C.V.’s from Europe.

“While we have received C.V.’s from several candidates, others have spoken directly to members of the Board, some through their agents, expressing an interest. However, we will not be interviewing all the candidates and we’ve agreed that a short-list would be prepared following our own research within the footballing family.”

With Collins, Connor and Cooke having publicly declared their interest in the post, Derry’s longest serving player and former captain, Peter Hutton, also remains a dark horse in the race.

Hutton is already considered a great Derry City ambassador and the 40-year-old former Finn Harps’ boss is highly respected at Board level. However, there is a distinct possibility that Hutton could be appointed as an assistant boss to a more experienced candidate.

For Roddy Collins, the Derry job would represent a challenge he would be delighted to take on.

“It’s no secret that I’m as keen as mustard to take on such a challenge,” said Collins last night.

“I’ve spoken to representatives of the Derry Board expressing my interest in the job. I believe Derry have what it takes to win the Premier Division and with European football also on the agenda for the club next season, it makes matters all the more interesting.

“I’ve watched Derry play last season and I must admit I was very impressed with the young players they have brought through. Obviously experience would be required, but I believe all the ingredients are in place to take the club forward,” he added.

“They haven’t won a league title since 1997, and I believe it will not take an awful lot for the club to become competitive. I believe the Derry job presents a great opportunity for any manager to take on,” declared the Dubliner.

Sean Connor also pubicly confirmed his interest last night when contacted.

“It’s no secret that I’ve always wanted to manage Derry City,” he said. “I’ve always admired the club and what it has achieved in League of Ireland circles but, more importantly, I can totally understand what they are attempting to achieve by bringing young players through the ranks.

“And the fact that they have already achieved that by actually selling on several players on to clubs in Scotland and England, says quite a lot about their youth structures.

“I believe it’s the only way forward and I think the nucleus of a very attractive football team is already in place at the Brandywell.

“I now reside in Co. Donegal which makes the Derry job all the more attractive for me so yes, I am very interested in managing the club and I have officially applied for the position,” concluded the Belfast native.

Kenny Shiels had initially been linked with the Brandywell job but it’s believed the Magherafelt man, who had hopes of getting the Hibs job, has since been linked with the Inverness Caledonian Thistle job, recently vacated by Terry Butcher who has officially been appointed Pat Fenlon’s successor at Easter Road.

Meanwhile, the October winner of the Derry City Monthly Draw was Peter McDuff, from Culmore Road, who recieves £1,000 after his ticket no. 587 was drawn from the hat.