FLEETWOOD TOWN have re-ignited their interest in signing out of contract Derry City striker, David McDaid (pictured) and last season’s joint leading goalscorer is keeping his fingers crossed that a move can be completed this week.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The English League Two outfit came close to landing the 21 year-old earlier this month after he impressed during a two week trial at the Highbury club, but the proposed move collapsed after the shock sacking of then manager, Micky Mellon.
McDaid had been offered a one year deal by ‘Candy Stripes’ boss, Declan Devine but was keen to keep his options open having favoured a cross-channel move.
And while he had feared a potential move to the Lancashire club had been scuppered following Mellon’s sudden departure, it’s understood the powers that be at Fleetwood had maintained their interest in the player and have now reinvigorated a potential move.
In fact, new Fleetwood Town boss, Graham Alexander will get an opportunity to see McDaid play behind closed doors tomorrow in a specially arranged practise match at the club’s training ground.
And McDaid is anxious to make a good impression on the new manager; “They want me over tomorrow for an in-house friendly game,” confirmed McDaid last night.
“I was over on trial a week and a half ago and I did well. I was supposed to be coming back over as they were interested in signing me and then their manager was sacked so everything was up in the air.
“Fleetwood’s Director of Football was then speaking to my agent and said he really liked me and still wanted to sign me even though they didn’t have a manager at the time. Now they have a new manager and he’s bringing me over to play this match, so fingers crossed I can do well.”
Fleetwood have invested heavily since their promotion from the Blue Square Premier League and McDaid was impressed with what he saw on his last visit to the Fylde coast side.
“It’s a professional set-up,” he explained. “They have just bought a new training ground for £10 million so they’re very professional and they’re ambitious.
“They’re trying to move up through the leagues and they’ve invested well in the team and the whole set-up of the club.”
The interest from cross channel clubs certainly doesn’t come as a surprise as he enjoyed his best season in a ‘Candy Striped’ shirt during the 2012 campaign.
However, should he complete a move to England, he admits he will leave his hometown club with a heavy heart having spent six years at the club.
“I had a good year last season,” he continued. “Declan (Devine) said to me at the start of the season that I would play a vital part in the team and in fairness he stood by that and thankfully I had a good year.
“Derry offered me a one year deal and I will always have a soft spot for Derry as it’s my hometown team but it’s always been my dream to go to England to play football.
“My agent rang me and said that Fleetwood were interested along with a few other clubs and asked me to go over for a trial.
“I wanted to secure a long-term future in the game and having had a good year with Derry last season I wanted to capitalise on that. I had the chance to go over to England on trial so I took it. I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass me by.
“Of course I’m going to miss playing for Derry City. I’ve been at Brandywell since I was 16 years-old so that’s five and half years of my life.
“Last year was the first time I actually played the full season and I loved every minute of it so it will be hard to leave the club.
“It was brilliant for the team and the city getting into Europe and even though I’ve always wanted to play in Europe I‘ve got the opportunity to go to England and hopefully I can make the most of that opportunity this week.”
Should Fleetwood complete the signing of McDaid, then a compensation package would need to be agreed with Derry City due to UEFA’s Under-23 ruling and McDaid is confident an agreement can be made.
“Fleetwood’s Director of Football has told me that he’s keen to have me over and it’s just a case of agreeing a compensation fee with Derry City.
“If Derry accept that then it should be more or less a done deal but I’m not taking anything for granted just yet. It looks positive from my point of view but you just never know with football,” concluded the striker.
Meanwhile, Derry City Chairman, Philip O’Doherty is confident the club can reach an agreement with Nottingham Forest over the proposed transfer of winger Stephen McLaughlin this week.
Mr. O’Doherty who watched Forest’s league clash with Burnley last Saturday, was involved in talks with the Championship club and revealed discussions were moving in the right direction.
“No formal agreement has been reached yet but we’re confident something will happen over the next few days,” said O’Doherty.
“I spent Saturday with Nottingham Forest talking about the transfer of Stephen McLaughlin and discussions were fruitful and hopefully something will get resolved over the next few days.”
The Derry Chairman also got the opportunity to catch up with former Derry left-back, Danny Lafferty now with Burnley and was delighted to see the Carnhill man getting a place in the starting line-up.
“I happened to be staying in the same hotel as the Burnley team and I was chatting to Danny Lafferty before the match and we had a good catch-up about Derry City.
“He played from the start and was probably the best player in the Burnley team, he did very well.
“They were beaten 2-0 but he was their best player in my opinion,” concluded O’Doherty.