Derry City enter race for Michael McCrudden

Michael McCrudden has been in superb goalscoring form for Institute this season.
Michael McCrudden has been in superb goalscoring form for Institute this season.

FREE-SCORING striker Michael McCrudden looks set to be at the centre of a bidding war between Derry City and Coleraine.

It’s believed that both sides will make an approach to Institute during the January transfer window.

McCrudden has scored 15 goals this season and that red-hot goalscoring form hasn’t gone unnoticed by his home town club and the Bannsiders. It’s understood that Coleraine Chairman Colin McKendry has already contacted his opposite number, Institute’s Bill Anderson about the possibility of signing the 27-year-old.

As for Derry, there could be a possible player exchange involving young players such as Sean McBride, Cathal Farren and Evan Tweed who are expected to be used as potential bargaining tools. That would probably be the better option for manager Paddy McLaughlin, who will be looking to find a replacement for his star striker.

The Gobnascale man has been in sparkling form for McLaughlin’s side this campaign and his impressive 15 goals tally in the league sees him sit just three goals behind the Premiership’s topscorer Joe Gormley.

In fact in recent weeks McCrudden has notched up nine goals in his last six games, scoring an impressive four goals against Cliftonville and he also netted the all important winning goal against Ards on St Stephen’s Day and is sure to be in the running for December’s Premiership Player of the Month.

McCrudden, who had a somewhat unhappy spell at the Brandywell in 2012 under Stephen Kenny’s stewardship, has carried on his form from the Championship last season, where he played a major role in ’Stute clinching the title and gaining promotion.

The talented striker, who won the Championship Player of the Year, netted an impressive seven goals in ’Stute’s final five games of the campaign and he carried that form into the Premiership where he scored four goals on ’Stute’s return to the top flight and thus deservedly winning August’s Player of the Month.

Another front man who could be on his way to the Brandywell is N Ireland U21 international Shayne Lavery.

The 20-year-old, who signed a one year deal with Everton last July, looks set to join Derry on-loan along with ex-Maiden City front man David Parkhouse, also believed to be linking up with the Candy Stripes on-loan from Sheffield United.

Derry boss Declan Devine along with his back-room team will be hoping to have the majority of the City squad in place for pre-season training, which gets underway next week.