Barry McNamee's Derry City future remains in doubt

Barry McNamee poses with a young fan at Brandywell last season.
Barry McNamee poses with a young fan at Brandywell last season.

BARRY McNamee's Derry City career remains in doubt as manager, Declan Devine admits last season's skipper is still undecided about his future.

The 27 year-old Ramelton man has been a free agent since November and had been in negotiations with the club about returning for the 2020 season.

However Devine, last month, said he feared McNamee had played his last game in a Derry shirt and the situation remains unresolved.

Irish League leaders, Cliftonville have been linked with the talented midfield man alongside League of Ireland clubs, Sligo Rovers, St Pat's and City's North West rivals, Finn Harps.

And Devine certainly isn't leaving anything to chance having recruited midfielders, Conor Clifford and Conor McCormack over the past few weeks.

When asked if there had been any further developments, Devine said he didn't know what McNamee's plans were.

"Barry is a player I've worked very closely with over the years," said the Derry manager. "Barry hasn't decided what he's doing in his career at this moment in time. I don't know if he's taking a bit of time out or if he's going to try his luck elsewhere at a different level. I don't know."

Michael McCrudden is another attacking player who has been linked with a move away from Brandywell with Cliftonville and Coleraine understood to be monitoring the situation. The Top of the Hill man played in the Danske Bank Premiership with both Institute and Ballinamallard and could be set for a return but he has one year remaining on his current Derry deal.

The player endured a difficult year at the Brandywell in 2019 following his long-running transfer from Institute after suffering a broken metatarsal last March in an innocuous training ground challenge. McCrudden missed 22 games from February to July before going on to make just eight starts and 11 appearances from the substitutes’ bench.

"We've got to continue to push the players that are here at the minute and try and bring other players in," said Devine. "There are players who will certainly move on over the coming weeks.

"A lot of things happen for certain different reasons. We've tried with players here in the past and they just haven't been up to it or haven't bought into the values that we hold as a football club.

"The people who are here at this moment in time, every single one of them have come into training over the last couple of days and have been magnificent to work with. If somebody comes in for our players then we're not saying 'no' but also we have to make sure we continue to improve and have a high level of player here.

"Ultimately that's what it's about and we have to ensure our squad gets better. The modern day game is about having a tight group who are all pulling in one direction. Having people who are chomping at the bit to get on the pitch and that's what we need this year.

"Look at Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, they have a lot of quality players who don't make the first team squad on a Friday night. We've got to try and claw our way up to those teams.

"But we've got to bring more players in. Hopefully we'll have a couple in this week. The work never stops," he insisted.