DERRY CITY: Defender among SEVEN new signings - claims Kenny Shiels
KENNY SHIELS claims he has been forced to deviate slightly from the club's policy of recruiting local players after completing the signing of SEVEN new faces!
The City boss says he has been extremely active in the transfer market over the past few weeks and confirmed he has signed a new centre half to replace experienced defender, Aaron Barry who left to join champions, Cork City.
And he further eased supporters’ growing concerns by revealing he will take the total of new signings up to EIGHT, including new additions Rory Hale and Dapo Kayode, with plans to unveil the rest of the names at the start of next week when all the deals are confirmed.
Explaining his reluctance to reveal the identity of the players already snapped up, Shiels said it was a measure to ‘protect the club’.
“We’re going to release the names of a few signings next week but I can’t reveal any of them just at the minute,” said Shiels.
“I’m just back from London last night (Wednesday) where I signed a player - a centre half. We met up in London and completed the deal. I’m nearly over the line with another one and I’ve agreed terms with a player in Dublin.
“I’ve also signed a player last Friday in Glasgow and this weekend I’m going to Liverpool to meet up with a player with a view to signing him.
“I’ve been everywhere all over Europe, in England and Scotland, Republic of Ireland as well. I’ve had wasted journeys as well.
“The players signed are players who will fit in to our style of play first and foremost. They’re compatible with what we do and they’re players who will fill a few voids.
“It’s about balancing off experience and youth. If you were criticising Derry last year you would say the balance of the age of the players wasn’t ideal. We had too many young players. That doesn’t mean to say we won’t be playing the young players. But they will have more competition now for their shirt and I expect there to be a response to that.”
As Derry prepare to compete in Europe and on the domestic front in 2018, Shiels knows he must increase the depth of his squad if he’s to challenge for trophies.
“We’re trying to have good cover and depth in our squad. If you look at Dundalk, they have done well because of the depth of their team - the same as Cork and even Rovers. They have huge depth in the size of their squad.
“I can’t get any players from Derry because they’re playing elsewhere and there’s good players out there. Our first priority is to bring Derry players to the club. But I have had to deviate from that slightly because we have to bring success to the club as well.
“It’s about striking the balance between success and youth development and the balance of the age and experience to help us get some results and get into the top three and challenging again.
“I’m blessed that I have good contacts and experience in the game where I can go to practically any country in western Europe and central Europe where I will know people and have good relationships with people who can keep me informed. Most of these players I will have looked at before or will have seen them.”
Former City players, Patrick McEleney and Stephen Dooley have both been linked with a return to the club in recent weeks while another former Candy Stripe, UCD striker, Georgie Kelly - the top goalscorer in last season’s First Division - has been rumoured to have attracted interest from both Derry and Dundalk. However, Shiels remained tight-lipped on his new acquisitions and future targets.