FORMER Cork City captain Conor McCormack is considering a tentative offer to return to Derry City and is set for further negotiations with the Brandywell club.
The 29 year-old Carlingford native, who spent 18 months on Foyleside from July 2015, is out-of-contract at the beginning of December and is currently weighing up his options with several top League of Ireland and Irish League clubs vying for his signature.
McCormack, a two-times Premier Division winner with St Pat’s and Cork City, confirmed he has been approached by Derry who see him as an ideal replacement for Greg Sloggett who has left to join champions, Dundalk.
And while he has been offered a new deal with reduced terms to stay at Turner’s Cross where he won a league and cup double in 2017, McCormack is hoping to find a club which will challenge for honours in 2020 and beyond following a frustrating season with the Rebels who struggled to an eighth place finish last season.
The experienced midfielder has also been heavily linked with a return to his former club, St Pat’s, Sligo Rovers and Premier Division newcomers, Shelbourne while an attractive offer to play in the USA has also been made in the past few weeks.
While he admits the lure of returning to a rejuvenated Derry City and the promise of European football is enticing, he’s not prepared to rush into a decision and expects to hold further talks with several clubs in the coming days.
“There has been a little bit of interest from Derry,” confirmed the ex-Manchester United youth. “There was a couple of phone calls over and back. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do next season yet.
“There’s been a good bit of interest since the season ended. There are a couple of clubs interested and they put in a few offers.
“I’m sure I will be hearing from Derry again in the next few days and we’ll sit down and speak about maybe returning up there. But I haven’t decided exactly where I’ll be playing my football next season yet.
“There’s interest from clubs north and south, a couple of good clubs, and I’ve received a couple of good offers so I will be weighing them all up and see what suits me best.”
While Cork boss, Neal Fenn remains hopeful he can persuade McCormack to stay as he attempts to rebuild the club, the midfielder admits the chance to play in Europe again next season is a considerable factor to consider.
“I haven’t cut ties with Cork as yet,” he claimed. “They’ve offered me a new contract and it’s not as good as the one I’m on at the minute, obviously for certain circumstances. The team hasn’t been as good as we were last year and the club are cutting back a bit and letting a couple of the more experienced players go.
“So I’m just weighing up my options and seeing what’s best for me and which is the best place for me to maybe win some silverware next year. I have to weigh that all up myself. I’ll just take the next few weeks to write down everything and decide where I’ll be playing my football.
“As a player you always want to challenge yourself and play at the highest level against the best and playing in Europe has been great. I’ve played in Europe the last few years and I’ve enjoyed it playing against massive teams in massive competitions.
“We had the Champions league run with Cork last year which was unbelievable. As a player you want to play in those games. Those games are the games you remember. So it will be in the back of my mind when I’m going to do a deal with a club.
“You always have that on the horizon and especially for a club that’s in Europe you would expect to be challenging at the top of the league and have a decent enough budget and get good players in. It definitely does attract players to a club because it’s always something to look forward to.”
Derry City boss, Declan Devine confirmed the club has been in contact with McCormack and plan on conducting further talks in the coming days.
"We're going to speak to Conor," said Devine. "I've spoken to a lot of players. I've got players from last season's playing staff and need to see what they're thinking about. We've been talking about contracts for the majority of our squad from last season right throughout the last two or three months and players are weighing up their options.
"But the one thing I would say is I think we've had a good year this year and shown we can compete with the big boys but we need to strengthen the squad and we will continue to do that over the coming weeks"