Ciaron Harkin insists he would never walk away from 'exciting' Derry City challenge

CIARON ‘Jackie’ Harkin insists he could never walk away from Derry City and is ‘excited’ to be part of Ruaidhri Higgins’ ambitious plans for the Brandywell club.

Ciaron Harkin was delighted to pen a new contract at Derry City.
Ciaron Harkin was delighted to pen a new contract at Derry City.

Despite having just five months left on his contract, the 25 year-old Creggan native revealed he had no intention of turning his back on his hometown club and was delighted to sign a new two-and-a-half year deal yesterday, an agreement which keeps him at Brandywell until the end of 2023!

The midfielder has made 76 appearances for the club and is enjoying a return to his best form this season having featured in 13 of the 15 league games so far. Under Higgins he’s relishing his deep-lying central midfield role and believes consistency and regular game-time has been key to his revival.

“The main thing is the security and getting the two year deal gives me that security, so I’m glad to get it done,” he said. “It’s where I want to be, everyone knows that.

“At the same time, I have to be happy and playing football. I’m playing well at the minute and playing every week so I thought it was the right time to do it.

“I’m happy so I was delighted to get the deal done. I can focus on my football now. It was something I was thinking about. What was I going to do? Will I have options? Am I going to try and stay here but not play?

“But since Ruaidhri has come in, he has had trust in me and I’ve been playing regularly. I’m getting more confidence and obviously playing better. Hopefully I can drive on and continue to get better now that I have that extra two years. I have time to keep getting better.

“My main aim is to stay in the team and I have a job to do for the next two-and-a-half years where we hope to go on and win some silverware and get back into Europe again.”

Higgins is on record declaring his ambitions to challenge for the league title within the next three-and-a-half years and that’s a challenge ‘Jackie’ is excited to be a part of.

“Everyone wants to be winning trophies and football games. It excites the fans, it excites everyone and it excites me to hear that the club are backing Ruaidhri and planning to win things.

“It’s something I want to be involved in and couldn’t walk away from. I’m excited to see what happens in the next few years and hopefully I can play a big part in it.”

The club has changed its approach to contracts, offering longer term deals to players and Harkin believes it’s a ‘big statement’ from the club and evidence of the ambition to build a successful football team.

“It’s going to make the players tighter as a group if they’re with each other for a longer time,” said Harkin.

“Going into every season not knowing who’s going to be there or coming to the end of the season with players being out of contract and not knowing if they’re going to be there the next year, it’s not good, even for the players that are tied in.

“So getting more players tied in on longer deals, it’s a big statement from the club and Ruaidhri has plans to get his own squad together. But the main thing is to have a squad every year without having to change 90 per cent of it.”