Plenty to shout about

BRANDYWELL boss, Declan Devine, has publicly expressed his thanks to the Derry City Board of Directors for backing him in his quest to sign another two players before the end of this month.

ARTHUR DUFFY reports

With centre-half, Stewart Greacen to put pen to paper on a new two year contract later this week, Devine is now in search of a right-sided midfield player plus a left-back which would complete his first team squad.

And in an effort to fill the vacant berth on the right wing, Devine and assistant boss, Paul Hegarty, will ‘run their eyes’ over a French 20-year-old during tonight’s final pre-season match against Finn Harps at the Brandywell. (7.45 p.m.)

Nicholae Millinceanu, who stands 6 ft. tall, will arrive in Derry today and will line-out against Harps before travelling on to have trials with clubs in Scotland.

“I’m very pleased that the Board of Directors have backed my requests in relation to bringing in new players and I think that the additions of Rory Patterson, Simon Madden and now, Stewart Greacen, represent quality rather than quantity,” said Devine last night.

“But I’ve been given permission to, hopefully, add two new players to the squad before February 22nd - a left-back and a right winger,” he added.

“We require another two players of the same standard recently brought in to complete a first team squad of 20 players which will be augmented by further players from our Academy. So things are looking up a bit despite the worry about us failing to bring in new players at the start of the year.”

Commenting on the involvement of trialist, Millinceanu, the Derry boss said it had been brought to his attention that the player was coming over and was interested in taking part in a trial with the club before doing the same with a few clubs in Scotland. “So it’s an opportunity we are going to take advantage of.

“The player is 20-years-old and while he held a contract at Monaco, it’s my understanding that injury halted his progression and he failed to make a first team appearance with that club. He’s since been playing in the lower leagues in France and I’ve been told he’s now back to full fitness and would appreciate an opportunity to further his career outside his native country.

“He’s coming in to play in the Harps match and I think that will be a good opportunity for any player. It may be a friendly match but it’s also a local derby encounter for us and, therefore, I would expect a bit of an edge to the game,” continued Devine.

New Additions

Left sided players, Owen Morrison and Matthew Crossan, signed one year contracts yesterday after both players continued to impress in training and in practise games.

“Both did well during our busy three days trip to Dublin and while their fitness levels are not what we expect just yet, we believe they are well on their way.

“Matt has a good left-foot as he showed when playing for Finn Harps against us in the Brandywell at this time last year. He netted twice in that match, one from a free-kick and the other with a left-footed volley. He was keen to sign for us and having also played for Coleraine, he took a year out to play Gaelic football last season and is now back attempting to further his career.

“Owen, as everyone knows, is a talented winger and he’s been working particularly hard since the start of pre-season. Like Matt, he did well in our training camp in Dublin last weekend and we believe both players will be making every effort to break into the first team. We’re delighted to have them.”

Stewart Greacen (not available), Eddie McCallion (calf) and Kevin Deery (rested) will not be used in tonight’s game, therefore, a window of opportunity again opens for Ryan McBride to join Shane McEleney at centre-half against Harps.

Ruaidhri Higgins has a slight strain but is expected to be okay while the French trialist and Stephen McLaughlin are expected to occupy the flanks.

“Given the close proximity of our game against Lisburn Distillery - on Saturday afternoon next at New Grosvenor - we have to be careful with our team selection,” continued the Brandywell boss.

“But Barry Molloy (pictured far left) certainly needs another game under his belt as he didn’t play against Institute. He will start as well as new signings Simon Madden and Rory Patterson.

“We will also include a number of young players who continue to impress us in training and, hopefully, they will try to step up to the mark and give us a selection problem.

“We intend to field a competitive team and against Harps everyone will want to be involved in the game, so it’s a good opportunity and a good match to have organised ahead of the Lisburn Distillery clash.”

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