Declan Devine thrilled to bring Conor Clifford to Derry City

Derry City's new signing Conor Clifford pictured alongside Derry City manager Declan Devine.
Derry City's new signing Conor Clifford pictured alongside Derry City manager Declan Devine.

Derry City manager Declan Devine conceded he was surprised his latest addition Conor Clifford was available.

The 28-year-old, who has signed a one year deal with the Brandywell club, has a wealth of experience having played in England for a number of years before returning home to play for the likes of Dundalk, Limerick and St Patrick’s Athletic in the League of Ireland.

“I can’t wait to start working with Conor, because he’s the type of player I love,” he insisted.

"He’s a creative influence, a guy who can get his foot on the ball, who can also score from distance and get into the box and score goals, but more importantly he’s a really good person and a person who wants to continue to do well.“

"Conor first and foremost I was surprised he was available, second of all didn’t know if he would be in our market and third of all didn’t know if he wanted to make the commitment to move to Derry, but he ticked all those boxes and they were all relative easily sorted out.

“People think he’s coming towards the end of his career, he’s 28. Him and Gerardo Bruna are the same age so, there’s a lot of football still in the kid yet and I can’t wait to get him going.”

The Dubliner has played at former Premier League champions Chelsea and Leicester City and Devine feels that experience will help his young squad.

“Conor has played at the very highest level and working with people like (Jose) Mourinho and (Carlo) Ancelotti. I was speaking to him today about that and he said that Ancelotti was the best he worked with, that’s a serious level to be working at,” he added.

“I think Conor not only influence us on the pitch, but also off it. We have people like Gerardo Bruna, who has worked with (Rafa) Benitez and that shows you how difficult it is now in England to crack it.

“We have players here now that have worked at the highest level. We also have Darren Cole, who has worked at the highest levels in Scotland, so we have players here that I feel can help us get better this year.

“That’s our target we have to try and get better this year. It’s going to be much more difficult but when you have people like Walter Figueira and Conor Clifford added to your squad, I think you are definitely looking in the right direction.

“Expectation levels are going to rise, but that’s good. Look last year we were finding it difficult to attract players to the club, because we were selling them a blind dream, but this year is different.

“The place was good last season and we want to keep that going; now there’s no guarantees that we are going to finish fourth or finish above that or below that, but the reality is that we want to strive to get better.

“I said in my very first press conference we don’t want to just build a team, we want to build the club up again and we want expectations to be high but we also want it to be realistic and we want people to understand that when we are working behind the scenes we are working extremely hard, to give our supporters the opportunity to watch the Conor Clifford’s, Walter Figueira’s, Gerardo Bruna’s, Ciaron Harkin’s of this world, that’s what we are doing behind the scenes.”