NOTTINGHAM Forest appear to be keen to forge a working relationship with Derry City Football Club it has emerged.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And while the fashionable npower Championship club have expressed an interest in Derry’s talented young left-winger, Stephen McLaughlin, Forest have since invited the Brandywell club’s chairman, vice-captain and team manager over to Nottingham next weekend for their next home fixture against Burnley.
The local club has since accepted the invitation and while Declan Devine may not be in a position to make the trip as he arrives home from Florida this week, chairman Philip O’Doherty and his vice, Sean Barrett, are now looking forward to the visit.
“Obviously we had given Nottingham Forest permission to have Stephen McLaughlin over for a week on trial and during our discussions the club has kindly invited Sean (Barrett), Declan (Devine) and myself over to their match against Burnley next weekend.
“Given that we sold Daniel Lafferty to Burnley at the start of the 2012 campaign, it’s a good opportunity for us to see how Danny is getting on and I’m sure we will be meeting up with him before or after next weekend’s match,” said Mr. O’Doherty.
In fact, Forest have also extended an open invitation for members of Derry City’s Coaching Staff to travel over to experience coaching at Championship level, working with their own club coaches during the weeks ahead.
“Nottingham Forest have been very helpful and, indeed, very supportive since making contact with us through their local scout who is based in Derry,” continued Mr. O’Doherty.
“We’ve kept in touch on a number of issues and while I’ve nothing to report in relation to their interest in Stephen (McLaughlin) at this stage, I think forming a good relationship with a top Championship club could prove a very positive step for us,” declared the Derry chairman.
Derry City Don’t Do
Meanwhile, Derry City have now opted to expand their search for a new striker following the Brandywell club’s failure to agree compensation terms for Dundalk’s out of contract 20-years-old striker, Mark Griffin.
And in another approach by the Brandywell club this week for another Irish out of contract young player, his current club is understood to have demanded a transfer fee of £20,000 before negotiations could even get underway.
While confirming that the “Candy Stripes” had identified and, indeed, spoken to a number of new targets for the 2013 season, the club’s vice-chairman, Sean Barrett, refused to get involved with clubs asking for inflated compensation fees.
“Clubs, in reality, are seeking transfer fees for young player and there are very, very few transfer fees paid these days, north or south of the border,” insisted Mr. Barrett.
“Our management team have been speaking to out of contract players - some of them very young players, some not so young - with a view to bringing them to Derry where they will improve and continue to develop their careers.
“And while we appreciate that we may be obliged to pay compensation under UEFA rules, the amounts sought by clubs have been totally and utterly ridiculous,” he claimed.
“We had been in talks with Dundalk in an effort to sign their young striker, but we failed to agree on a compensation figure - not a transfer fee - so we’ve instructed our management team to move on and look elsewhere,” he concluded.