RODDY Collins has set his sights firmly on adding two new centre-backs to his Derry City panel.
And assisting him in that regard is none other than former Derry City winger, Paddy McCourt, who returned from Rochdale to join Collins at Shamrock Rovers back in 2005.
The Brandywell boss has remained in close contact with McCourt who is furthering his career with Barnsley, now managed Danny Wilson whose father, Joey, actually represented the “Candy Stripes” during the mid-1960’s in the Irish League.
“I try to keep in contact with all the players I had been involved with and Paddy McCourt is no exception,” said Collins last night.
“We’ve had a chat this week in relation to a player who has become available and Paddy will be assisting me in furthering my interest by selling Derry City to him should he be keen to join us,” added the Dubliner.
And while he refused to identify the player involved, it was clear that Collins’ priority was to secure the signings of two new centre-backs.
Tim Clancy (Hibs) and Cliff Byrne (Oldham) are both free agents and Collins is particularly keen to sign one, if not both Dubliners.
“Unfortunately, at this point I can’t confirm if they will be joining us, but both have expressed an interest and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can sign one if not both of them,” he declared.
Former Shamrock Rovers defender David Elebert and ex-Portadown defender, Shane O’Connor, both trained under Collins in the Vale Centre yesterday morning.
“We’re having a look at both and there are few other players who have been on the phone, through their agents, in relation to playing in the League of Ireland next season.”
“I had hoped to be in a position to identify the players I would be signing this week, but that was going to be after practise matches against Limavady and Coleraine.
“Unfortunately, those games were postponed and this Sunday’s game against Newbuildings has also fallen by the wayside, so I’ve organised a practise match against Institute to be played at the Vale Centre on Tuesday morning (today 11.30 a.m.),” he confirmed.
“I’ll get an opportunity to have a look at a few players who have come over on trial and that will help me make a decision on them.
“However, with the British Transfer Window closing at midnight this Friday, I would expect no shortage of business to be taking place between now and than. However, once that window closes, the League of Ireland will gain prominence as those players who have not found a club, suddenly find themselves stranded.
“And when one considers the fact that clubs in the lower divisions in England are actually getting young Manchester United lads on loan, the more experienced players are not in as great a demand any longer.”
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