Derry boss Collins bags former Scunthorpe skipper Cliff Byrne

Chesterfield v Oldham....Spirites Marc Richards foiled by Athletics Cliff Byrne
Chesterfield v Oldham....Spirites Marc Richards foiled by Athletics Cliff Byrne

DESCRIBING himself as an “eternal optimist,” Roddy Collins bagged the services of another one of his main targets last night, having landed experienced centre-back, Cliff Byrne.

And hot on the heels of adding Mark Stewart to his striking options, the ebullient Dubliner is now well on his way to rebuilding the squad which will contest the 2014 campaign.

But he’s not finished just yet with 6’4” Parisian defender, Jean-Yves M’voto Owono, taken out to dinner by Collins and his wife, Carol, in the City Hotel last night.

The 25-year-old French man, comfortable at left-back or centre-half, is also expected to join the “Candy Stripes” on loan from Barnsley until next July.

“It’s been a positive week for us,” boasted Collins when interviewed last night.

“And it’s good that we’ve got some business done in advance of the closing of the British Transfer Window.”

However, it was the signing of Byrne which gave Collins a real confidence-booster.

“He’s a diamond of a player. Standing 6’2” he’s a really solid centre-back who reads the game so well. At 31 years of age, he’s a leader in defence and I’m absolutelly delighted to have got him.

“Once his name went up on the board, some people laughed at me as Cliffy would be considered well outside our budget. But once I realised he wanted to come home, I took a flight over, sat down and chatted to him and I’m really, really delighted that he comes to us within our budget, a good piece of business.”

Byrne has played well over 350 senior games in the top end of League One and in the Skybet Championship in England.

As a former captain of Scunthorpe, he lead them into the second tier in England and, according to Collins, he could play until he’s 36.

“He looks after himself very well; he plays every game and he’s rarely injured and he will prove a superb addition to the squad.”