Conor McCormack leading the way at Derry City

Conor McCormack
Conor McCormack

Manager Declan Devine says Conor McCormack is already having a huge impact within the Derry City dressing room.

The Derry manager praised the midfielder’s fitness levels and application which he claims are already rubbing off on his new Brandywell team-mates.

McCormack, who has won every domestic trophy and played a pivotal role in Cork City’s double winning season of 2017, looks set to be a crucial player in the Candy Stripes changing room this campaign.

“Conor McCormack has obviously seen the set-up in the past and has been very impressive in terms of his application. His endeavour to become better is great,” insisted Devine.

“His leadership qualities throughout the group have also been very evident.”

Devine also praised fellow new signings, Conor Clifford, Walter Figueira and Stephen Mallon and is looking forward to Friday night’s opening pre-season game at Drogheda United.

“Conor Clifford and Walter Figueira played alongside each other at Chelsea, so it was relatively good for them to come back to a club at the same time,” he added.

“Obviously Stevie (Mallon) has only been in a couple of days but he’ll find his feet as well and will provide another real talented player in terms of moving the group forward.

“I’m looking forward to the game on Friday and very grateful for Drogheda for taking the game. It worked out well for us last year in terms of getting people game time.

“It will be tough and it’s a good pre-season friendly to start with but more importantly, the players have trained really well.

“Today (Monday) is their 17th session in 10 days, so they have bought into things relatively early. The sessions have been of a high standard, but we are still looking to strengthen the squad and working to bring people to the club.

“We’ve had a number of trialists in over the last week or 10 days, but I’ll be delighted to get the kits on and get an 11 versus 11 game. It’s still early days in terms of pre-season and we are continuing to get miles into their legs as that’s the most important thing.

“Getting the new players into the mix, showing them how we work and how the rest of the players work, is key.

“I’m delighted we are up and running. We hope to add more games to our pre-season fixture list over the next week or so, but I’m delighted with the way the new boys have settled into the group.

“I’m also thrilled all the guys who were here last year have come back in great condition. They know already how we work. To be honest, the young players from the academy, from the U17s and U19s, that have stepped up, have been absolutely fantastic as well.

“Training has been very competitive but, more importantly, we have got everybody fit in terms of injuries. There’s still a lot of work to be done between now and the start of the season though.”

With last season’s captain Barry McNamee’s future still undecided, Devine has confirmed the captain’s armband won’t be awarded until closer to their league opener at Dundalk on February 14th.

“We’ll leave that until the very last minute, but we definitely have potential leaders in the group,” he explained.

“We have players that have been here last year, that showed an unbelievable appetite in terms of their willingness to win and also their application to come back to the club this year.

“However, it’s very early to be looking at potential captains and we certainly haven’t finalised our squad. I would expect quite a bit more experience to come into the group between now and the start of the season.

“Whenever we play, we want 11 captains but at this moment in time the armband won’t be handed over to anybody until a couple of days before the start of the season.”