DERRY CITY have until the close of business today (Tuesday) to make any last minute signings prior to the commencement of the 2011 Premier Division season.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And should Stephen Kenny be interested in adding Institute striker, Joe McCready, to his panel for the new campaign, any deal must be done before 5.00 p.m.
It’s an open secret that the Dubliner clearly rates the 20-year-old striker and, indeed, believes the Shantallow man possesses the potential to develop into a senior player, but sources close to the Brandywell club has suggested that any such deal now appears unlikely.
Once this afternoon’s deadline expires, League of Ireland clubs cannot bring in new faces until the new Transfer Window opens in July.
Kenny’s priority, over recent months, was to secure the services of an experienced centre-half following the defection of Mark McChrystal to Tranmere Rovers.
And having added former Morton captain, Stewart Greacen, to his panel last week, one got the feeling that the Derry City squad for 2011 had been assembled.
However, while McCready has not been considered prolific in front of goal for Institute this season, he does boast qualities which have impressed the Derry boss in the past.
With Mark Farren currently recovering from a major operation, Derry will rely heavily on the contributions of new striker, Eamon Zayed, plus youngsters David McDaid and Patrick McEleney during the Premier Division campaign.
But given the constant worry associated with injury and suspension, Kenny could well be forced to juggle with his personnel and will also depend heavily on obvious back-up from his midfield unit.
While I failed to make contact with the Dubliner prior to last night’s penultimate pre-season game against Institute in Drumahoe, it is known that the Derry boss remains hopeful that this season goals will emanate from all areas of the park.
James McClean, Gareth McGlynn, Stephen McLaughlin and Kevin Deery are all considered goalscoring threats while the physical presence of Greacen will, no doubt, assist Derry in set-piece situations.
In fact the Scot weighed-in with his first goal for his new club last Friday night at the Brandywell when Derry defeated Irish League Championship side, Dergview, 3-2 having enjoyed a 3-0 lead at one stage.
Greacen netted Derry’s second goal following a first-half corner kick with McEleney credited with the first and third strikes.
McCready was expected to lead the ‘Stute front line last night at the Riverside Stadium and while time is now getting short, the possibility of Kenny adding another local player to his panel at this late stage, must be considered unlikely.
Meanwhile, the “Candy Stripes” will complete their pre-season games this Friday night at the Brandywell when Salthill Devon make the trip from Galway.
The First Division side, who struggled in last season’s campaign, will be hopeful of making a better impression this time around and that game will kick-off at 7.45 p.m.
This Friday also represents the last call for those wishing to renew their season tickets for the Southend Park Stand.
While the vast majority of season ticket holders have now come forward to claim their seats for 2011, there are still a number who have yet to confirm their interest.
Should those vacant seats not be claimed by 2.00 p.m. on Friday, they will be offered to others seeking changes in their seating arrangements for the new campaign.