Derry City defender Conor McDermott is a man in demand after informing Declan Devine of his desire to leave the Brandywell club on a permanent transfer.
The former Northern Ireland Under 21 international is currently on-loan at Cliftonville where he has impressed as Paddy McLaughlin’s team battle for honours at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Derry City are still expecting the defender to return in January when his loan deal expires but McDermott’s stance has alerted Cliftonville, Glentoran and St Patrick’s Athletic to the possibility of securing his signature with the Reds already having seen a opening bid turned down by the Candy Stripes.
The 22-year-old still has a year to run on his deal with the Brandywell club but has become a real fans’ favourite at Cliftonville who head the queue of clubs chasing him.
It is believed McDermott informed Devine of his desire to move to part-time football in a meeting last week and that desire may rule out Stephen O’Donnell’s Saints.
Despite the considerable interest, Derry, who don’t have a right-back at the club and who remain in talks with Darren Cole and Jamie McDonagh, are thought to want to keep McDermott who is highly rated by the coaching staff.
The defender, who came through the youth team ranks at his hometown club, broke into the City first team under Kenny Shiels’ tenure but injuries and a loss of form, meant he was unable to hold down a regular place and fell out of favour under Devine’s stewardship.
Both Devine and McDermott decided a loan switch to Solitude was best for both parties and agreed they would re-evaluate the situation at the end of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign which finished in October.
Cliftonville have been very solid defensively this season with McDermott playing a major role in the Reds’ early season form which has seen them book their place in the Co. Antrim Shield Final and currently sit second in the Danske Bank Premiership table with only goal difference separating them from leaders Coleraine.
Indeed, two weeks ago McDermott scored a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender for the Reds, firing home from just inside his own half in their win over bottom side Warrenpoint Town.