DAVID PARKHOUSE arrived at Derry City from Sheffield United as a teenager in January, intent on ‘making a name’ for himself and kick-starting his career.
And he’s certainly accomplished that particular mission having led the line for his hometown club with distinction, producing performances which have warranted his nomination for the 2019 PFAI Team of the Year.
He’s also one of three nominees in the ‘Young Player of the Year’ shortlist, alongside esteemed company in Danny Mandroiu (Bohs) and Ireland senior international, Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers).
The striker, who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, has netted 11 league goals and 19 in total and is chasing down Dundalk hitman, Pat Hoban who boasts two goals more (13) going into the final round of league fixtures.
However, it’s an incredible achievement for the talented striker who has thoroughly enjoyed representing the Candy Stripes in what has been his first season in senior football.
And while securing European football is the priority going into tonight’s crunch derby against Finn Harps at Brandywell, he is intent in gunning down Hoban for that prestigious golden boot honour.
“One hundred per cent I’m thinking about it,” he smiled. “The main goal is to get the team over the line and try to win the match first and foremost but if I can chip in with goals then that’s a bonus.
“On the competitive side, I do have individual targets as well and I do want to be top goalscorer because I want to build on the success I’ve had.
“I’m not going to lie down to anybody. Pat Hoban is a brilliant player and he’s scored brilliant goals every season. There’s a bit of a sweat on.”
Parkhouse, who finished as runner-up in the August Player of the Month award despite netting six goals, including four in the EA Sports Cup semi-final, isn’t convinced he will be named Young Player of the Year.
However, he came to Foyleside with the intention of enhancing his reputation and is honoured to be recognised by his peers.
“I never expected it,” he claimed. “Although that was one of the aims at the start of the season, to get games, have good performances and contribute to the team as much as I could and it’s paid off so I’m delighted.
“Byrne and Mandroui are two brilliant players and I’ll not be too disappointed if I don’t win. All I wanted to do this season was try and make a name for myself and obviously I have done. I’ll not get too disappointed because I’m very privileged to be in the position I’m in. I do have that competitiveness and I do want to win it but I’ll not get too down if I don’t.
“It’s an absolute honour to play for Derry but I’ve set myself a benchmark going forward with the standards I’ve set this season. I just have to keep it up now. That’s what to do if you want to success in football. I’ve tried my best in every game and it’s paid off. I couldn’t be happier with the situation we’re in at the minute.
”The N. Ireland U21 international is highly rated by Premiership outfit, Sheffield United. However, let’s not forget he was at a crossroads after loan spells with non-league Boston United and Tamworth at the tail end of 2018.
He’s rejuvenated his promising career under Declan Devine and while his goals have been crucial in Derry’s Euro push, he might not get the opportunity to return from his parent club and experience his first taste of Europa League action.
“It would be an honour to represent Derry in Europe but there’s a lot of time between now and January and a lot of talking to be done. I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I’m focussed on is doing the job on Friday and I’m looking forward to taking a break then.
“I’ve been playing football now for a year and a half without a break. I’ve sacrificed my summer break from the English season to come back here and have the success I’ve had with the team.
“I’m sure there will be plenty of talks between now and January. Wherever that leaves my career then that’s where it goes. We’ll know closer to January if that’s here, in England, or wherever. I’ve established myself this year but I’m nowhere near the finished article. I’m still trying to make it.”