Fenlon secures his 'bustling' striker

BRANDYWELL boss, Pat Fenlon, has finally secured the services of a bustling target man with former Aston Villa apprentice, Peter Hynes, signing a two-year contract for the 'Candy Stripes' on Wednesday afternoon having arrived from Newry City.

ARTHUR DUFFY

reports

And the new Derry manager is understood to be close to adding a Swedish goalkeeper to finalise his squad, but a decision on the future of Ola Tidman, will not be made until early next week it is believed.

Indeed, both players could find themselves involved in Derry's final pre-season game against Coleraine tomorrow afternoon at The Showgrounds as Fenlon is anxious to improve his players' match fitness with the eircom League season set to kick-off next Friday night against Bray Wanderers at the Brandywell.

With the League's Transfer Window slamming shut at midnight on Wednesday, Fenlon added Hynes to his squad having watched the player on three occasions over the past few months.

Hynes, a Dubliner, served his apprenticeship at Villa Park and, indeed, played in that club's 2002 F.A. Youth Cup success before turning professional in August of that year. He went out on loan to Doncaster Rovers in December 2003 and then joined Cheltenham Town (also on loan) before returning to Villa.

Having returned to Ireland following his release he joined Dublin City in July, 2004 before moving to Dundalk in 2005 and subsequently found his way into the Irish League when agreeing a contract with Newry City in January of this year.

Commenting last night, the player said he was surprised but delighted to get the opportunity to join Derry City on a full-time contract.

"The Newry chairman rang me and asked me if I would be interested in joining Derry City and that Newry would not stand in my way despite the fact that I had signed for them until the end of the season," said Hynes.

"I spoke with Pat and agreed a two-year contract and I'm delighted to be back in full-time training having returned home from England a few years ago," he added.

The 23-year-old, who will arrive in Derry this weekend, said he was fully aware of the quality at his new club having played against Derry when representing Dublin City.

"I would know quite a few of the players, especially Killian Brennan, who was at Dublin City the same time as me. Derry City are a very good side, as they proved last season, and the fact that so many young players are involved at the club makes it exciting. I'm really looking forward to getting back into full-time and I think it will be a great challenge for me."

Having played in midfield and on both flanks - he's equally happy with both feet - Hynes is now considered an out-and-out striker given his physical presence.

"I don't mind where I play, just as long as I'm in the team. Going to Derry will be a challenge as they have quite a few quality players, but I'm prepared for that and I'm certainly looking forward to the experience," he concluded.

Wanted him for Shelbourne

Fenlon also confirmed that he had sought Hynes' signature when the player returned to Ireland in 2003.

"Our current scout, Dave Henderson, sent Peter to Aston Villa five years ago and when the player returned, I wanted to sign him for Shelbourne but with Jason Byrne, Glen Crowe and Gary O'Neill all involved at Tolka Park, he probably felt he wouldn't get a game.

"And since I arrived in Derry, I've always made it clear that Derry required a physical presence in the front line and I've been watching Peter's progress over the past few months. I've watched him three times in the last few weeks and he's done well for Newry.

"He's not fit enough for my liking at the moment, but I'm confident I can get him right and I'm not too concerned about that end of things," claimed the Derry boss.

"He's got potential as he's got great ability. He's quick and he's over six feet tall; he's aggressive and is very comfortable holding the ball up and with Gary Beckett out of action at the moment, it's something we're certainly missing at the moment."

Not widely recognised as an out-and-out goalscorer, Fenlon agreed that with Mark Farren and Kevin McHugh considered capable strikers, he felt Hynes' strengths also included the ability to change games.

"With Mark and Kevin recognised goalscorers - and we also have goalscoring options from midfield - we need something a little bit different and I believe Peter will give us that and fits the bill," suggested Fenlon.

He also claimed what while the player certainly possessed a physical presence and was an obvious aerial threat, Hynes boasted great ability and possessed a superb "first touch for a big fella!"

And Fenlon was also delighted that the player had arrived on a 'free,' although he did admit that he'd made an agreement with Newry City that should he be sold on, then the Irish League club would be entitled to a percentage of any fee received.

Swedish Youth International

Meanwhile, turning to the possibility of adding a third goalkeeper to his squad this weekend, Swede Ola Tidman, will line-out against Coleraine tomorrow afternoon at Ballycastle Road and a decision on his future would be made over the next few days.

"I'd received decent reports about Ola. He's 6' 2" and while we've had a good look at him in training over the past few days, I'd like to see him in action in a competitive match, therefore, he will play against Coleraine on Saturday," confirmed Fenlon.

"He's currently out of contract, therefore, the transfer window deadline doesn't matter as far as he is concerned but I think we would be in a position to make a decision on his future early next week," declared the Brandywell boss.

Tidman (25), has represented Sweden at under-18 and under-21 levels, and should Fenlon opt to sign him, he will have a assembled a squad of 22 players for the 2007 campaign.

However, Fenlon did admit that he would be keen to add another player if that was possible.

"We are involved in quite a few competitions and that can take it's toll. We've already had three bookings in the Setanta Cup in the first game last Monday night so another card for another of those players brings a one match suspension, so we have to take that into consideration as well.

"Obviously, a larger squad would give us extra options and I've no doubt that Bohemians and Drogheda will certainly have larger squads than us this season. To be honest, I'm happy with the cover we have defensively given that we have two or three players who can play in two or three different areas.

"I also think we're well covered across midfield and up front, but I still feel we are little bit short on the left side. That said, we missed Killian (Brennan) but Paddy (McCourt) certainly didn't let the team down while operating on that flank against Glentoran," laughed Fenlon.

"He was great and his workrate was fantastic. He's a great option for us and he caused so many problems when coming inside but, as a manager, I'd still like to have a natural left-sided player on that side of the park.

"While it may not be considered essential at the moment, if such a player became available, then I would speak to the Board of Directors just to see if there would be money available."

Beckett remains injured

Fenlon also confirmed that Gary Beckett was six to eight weeks away from full fitness: "Gary, at the moment, will be out for six to eight weeks; Peter Hutton hasn't done as much training as I would like and his wife has had a baby this week so he's a little bit behind on that end of things while Peter Hynes will probably take four or five weeks to get up to speed

"All in all I'm happy with the squad so far, the players have embraced everything I've tried to do and that's been very helpful. While the season has already started as far as I'm concerned, our next game is our opening league fixture against Bray and with Clive Delaney returning, it should prove a interesting game next Friday night."

Reflecting back on the Glentoran match, Fenlon insisted that he wasn't overly worried about his side's fitness levels but was concerned about the sharpness of his players.

"I think that point proved true as the match progressed. I watched Glentoran defeat Newry the previous Friday night and they strolled through that game. I knew that they would up the tempo against us and that also proved the case but that was good from our point of view as I believe it will stand to us given the tough Setanta Cup group we're in.

"The tackles came in thick and fast and the players realised quickly that the season had started and that has to be a good thing. We were definitely off the pace for the best part of the first half but we said at half-time that we now had to go out and stamp our authority on the proceedings and that's exactly what we did," he maintained.

And turning to his controversial sending-off, Fenlon said: "I didn't like the tackle on Paddy McCourt and while I did turn to 'Windy' (Paul Millar) to give off, his assistant (Andy Mathieson) came over into our technical area and squared up to me. We had a go over the tackle as managers do, he put his head into my face. I didn't know what I was supposed to do, but I didn't leave the technical area and the referee then sent both of us off.

"I'll have to wait and see what happens. I can understand the position referees are in. The fourth official liaised with the referee and he probably felt he had to do something. I don't think I would have been sent off in the eircom League had a similar situation materialised but maybe Andy has a little bit carry-over from when I played against him for Linfield, I don't know!" concluded Fenlon with his tongue-in-cheek.