DERRY City had no fewer than seven “new faces” involved in a “behind closed doors” challenge fixture on Sunday last on Inch Island, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And with the Transfer Window opening on Sunday week, it’s clear that Brandywell boss, Declan Devine, is keen to add to his first team panel for the second half of the season.
With a number of guests included in the Derry City Select side which faced the first team, Devine refused to name names but he did admit that former midielder, Ciaran Martyn, had played having accepted an invitation to do so.
“We opted to bring in a few new faces to play in a challenge game to have a look at those players,” admitted Devine. “It proved to be a very useful workout with Stewart Greacen returning to action and yes, Ciaran Martyn was involved as I invited him to come along given that he’s looking for a club having been released from Glentoran,” added the Derry boss.
“I had already invited Ciaran along to take part in our training sessions if only for him to keep active as he seeks to find another club. To be fair to him, he did okay in last Sunday’s workout and he’s been a terrific servant to Derry City over the years.
“Everyone associated with the club has great respect for Ciaran given his service, so I felt it was important for him to try to keep active. If something can be worked out between Ciaran and ourselves, then that’s fine but, at the same time, if Ciaran secures a contract with another club while training with us, that’s fine as well,” continued Devine.
Refusing to identify any of the other “new faces” at this stage, Devine admitted that those involved were experienced senior players who were happy to take part in the practise match.
“We invited a number of experienced players to take part in the game just to have a look at them. The players we asked all agreed and I’ve no doubt talks will continue with some of them in the future.
“We have a very small first team panel this season and while we will continue to focus our attentions on developing our own players, we also require experienced personnel who would be prepared to join us.
“I’ve already spoken to members of the Board of Directors in relation to adding to the squad in July and I’m hopeful that funds will be in place should I manage to identify players willing to join us.”
Having opted to depart Derry early yesterday morning for the long trip to Turner’s Cross for tonight’s league game against Cork City, Devine wanted a change from the itinerary which had been used for so many years.
“Normally, we would have a training session at home before boarding the bus for the trip to Cork but for this match, we’ve decided to get down there as early as possible and do our session in Cork.
“We will be forced into a few changes due to suspension and injuries, but I’m delighted to report that we have players returning to the panel and the availability of Stewart Greacen couldn’t have come at a better time.”
The 30-year-old Scot, out for the past three months due to a cartilage operation, played in last Sunday’s game at Aileach F.C. and came through it without any difficulty.
So with Shane McEleney suspended against Cork, Greacen will join Ryan McBride in the heart of the Derry defence bringing stability to the back four.
Barry Molloy, who has sustained a knee injury but is also suspended for tonight’s game, leaves a problem in the central midfield position and it will be interesting to note which player accompanies Ruaidhri Higgins with captain, Kevin Deery, still a few weeks away from returning to full fitness.
Patrick McEleney is probably the best bet given that he’s played there in the past with David McDaid joining lone hitman, Rory Patterson.
Defending Six Match
Cork City will attempt to extend their unbeaten record to seven games having held Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght in their last game and that result has forced Devine to sit up and take notice.
“Tommy Dunne has made some astute purchases this season and now that they’ve settled back into the Premier Division I’ve no doubt that they will be hoping for a strong finish.
“Colin Healy has returned to the fold having been in England while Dan Murray is also delighted to be back having spent a few seasons with Rovers. Add in the return of former Rovers striker, Tadgh Purcell and Davon O’Neill and Cork also boast a pretty potent goal threat, so we’ll have to be at our best to get a favourable result.”
GREAT SCOT PROVIDES HOPE IN CORK
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