Bolton Wanderers to continue talks for Derry City's Eoin Toal

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins admits if Eoin Toal departs, he would be a massive loss. Picture by George SweeneyDerry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins admits if Eoin Toal departs, he would be a massive loss. Picture by George Sweeney
Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins admits if Eoin Toal departs, he would be a massive loss. Picture by George Sweeney
Bolton Wanderers are expected to step up their chase for Derry City skipper Eoin Toal after Thursday evening’s Europa Conference League second leg encounter in Riga.

The League One side, who had a bid rejected by the Candy Stripes, held discussions with the Brandywell men last week and Technical Performance Director Chris Markham is likely to hold further talks in an attempt to get a deal in place after City’s European tie in Latvia.

For boss Ruaidhrí Higgins he admits if the big centre-back did seal a move to Ian Evatt’s side it would be a huge loss the Brandywell men.

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“At this minute in time I don’t know if Bolton have made another offer,” he stated. “We all know that their first offer was rejected and at the minute I don’t think they have made an improved offer, but that may change as the week progresses.

Eoin Toal has been an absolutely brilliant servant for this club and he’s only 23. He has played a lot of games and I can only speak since I have been here, but he has been fantastic. If he does leave then it would be a huge loss, but as we sit here now, there’s nothing confirmed or agreed or anything like that.”

Higgins also states most League of Ireland managers accept that if any young talented player performs, then a move across the water or further afield is likely to happen and if the City skipper does depart, the Limavady man concedes his transfer policy over the next few weeks may need to change.

“We will need to replace him or we’ll need to adapt or play a different system, I don’t know, because nothing has happened since last week’s bid was rejected,” he added.

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“Listen when you manage in this league and there’s good young players, then inevitably you are going to lose them. You see Darragh Burns away to MK Dons, Danny Mandroiu to Lincoln and there’s talk of other players at different clubs going, so when you’re a manager in this league it’s inevitably if you have got really good young players then there’s going to be interest in them.

“It’s all about trying to adapt and come up with a solution and that’s what we’ll have to try and do if he does go, but as I said there’s nothing really happened since last week’s bid was rejected.”

The Derry boss was speaking on Monday, before the team, staff and officials jet out to Riga tomorrow morning, as they look to become the first League of Ireland side to turn around a two goal deficit in European competition.

In 2018, Derry were one goal away from knocking out Dinamo Minsk, after losing the first leg 2-0 at the Brandywell. Kenny Shiels’ side won 2-1 in Belarus but lost 3-2 on aggregate.

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“Derry went very close against Minsk a few years ago, so it’s not unachievable, but don’t get me wrong it’s an uphill task for us but I believe it’s achievable,” he explained.

"The first goal is the most important goal on Thursday, it doesn't have to be early, we just have to score the first goal and then it will be very, very interesting to see how they react if we went in front and that's the goal."

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