STEWART Greacen is understood to be unhappy at Glentoran and while speculation has linked the Scot with a return to Derry City, the Brandywell club is totally unaware of the situation, the “Journal” has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The 30-years-old central defender, who proved a massive hit at the Brandywell last season, is believed to have signed an 18 months contract with the Irish League side, however, things have not gone according to plan.
Indeed, the decision of former manager, Scott Young, to resign following the Irish Cup defeat by junior side, Newington, appears to have been the straw which broke the camel’s back.
The player, who flys into Belfast on a weekly basis, has become frustrated with the arrangements and having to train with a Scottish club has not helped matters.
It’s also understood that Glentoran’s temporary boss and former Derry manager, Roy Coyle, has been made aware of the situation and he’s keen to get matters sorted out.
Given that the big Scot spent a very happy season with the “Candy Stripes” last season in the League of Ireland, it comes as no surprise that speculation has now linked him with a return.
However, sources at the Brandywell insist that they are not aware of any such development and, indeed, have not spoken to either Greacen or Glentoran in relation to the matter.
As I failed to make contact with Derry boss, Declan Devine, before going to Press last night, a Brandywell source said he was shocked to be made aware of Greacen’s difficulties, but if he was to return to Derry City, it would certainly boost the club’s defensive capabilities.
“Our priorities have centred on finding a left-back to replace Danny Lafferty, that’s what we are focused on at the moment,” he said.
However, sources in Belfast have suggested that Greacen has made it clear that he would be happier representing a club closer to his home in Scotland, but he realises that the key factor would be Glentoran’s agreement to release him from his current contract.
Meanwhile, the Brandywell club will make their annual visit to the Riverside Stadium tonight to face local Irish League rivals, Institute, in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup Final. (7.45 p.m.)
And new Derry signings, Simon Madden and Rory Patterson, are expected to be involved in the panel, although team boss, Devine, claimed he would not be making as many substitutions as those made in the last week’s game against Dungannon Swifts.
“We’ll be again using the game to take another look at a number of players including Packie Mailey and young left back, Barry McNamee, who has been doing very well in training,” said Devine.
“However, I don’t envisage making as many substitutions as we did against Dungannon.”
With Barry Molloy, Kevin Deery and Owen Morrison all nursing minor injuries, the will not be involved in the game but new signings Simon Madden and Rory Patterson will be involved at some stage.
“It will be good for the players to get important game time under their belts and I would hope to use all three strikers - Patterson, Mark Farren and David McDaid - to see how we are shaping up given that its just a matter of over a week before we travel to Lisburn Distillery in the Setanta Cup,” added Devine.
“Games against Institute always seem to have a bit of an edge about them given that it’s a derby match, but I feel it’s an important game and, hopefully, there will be a decent atmosphere in the Riverside Stadium.
Game Brought Forward
The date for the opening Setanta Cup game has been brought forward to Saturday, February 11th at New Grosvenor Stadium, the game kicking-off at 3.00 p.m. It’s understood Derry agreed to the switch yesterday due to the fact that Distillery do not have a game that weekend.
The return fixture remains unchanged, with Derry entertaining the “Whites” at the Brandywell on Monday night, February 20th with a 7.45 p.m. kick-off.
Meanwhile, Derry City will travel to Dublin this Friday for a three day training camp at Johnstown House.
“It will be a very intensive camp with no shortage of sessions from Friday to Sunday in an effort to improve fitness levels and sharpness.
“We always find these camps very useful, particularly for new players to integrate into the group and get to know each other,” he concluded.
Derry’s final pre-season game will be against Finn Harps at the Brandywell this night week, Tuesday, February 7th with a 7.45 p.m. kick-off.