FORMER Celtic star, Paddy McCourt is set for a sensational return to Derry City, the ‘Journal’ understands.
The ex-Northern Ireland winger, who spent three trophy-laden seasons at the Brandywell Stadium, is expected to be announced as the club’s Youth Development Officer in what is a major boost to the club’s youth structure.
Currently plying his trade in the SSE Airtricity First Division with Finn Harps in his 17th season in senior football, the 34 year-old Shantallow man is expected to officially take over his new role later this year.
McCourt, who made 96 appearances for the Candy Stripes following his signing from Shamrock Rovers in 2005, has reportedly met with Derry City manager, Kenny Shiels and Board members this week to discuss the role.
And it’s understood the club’s current youth coaches were informed of McCourt’s imminent appointment at a meeting on Wednesday night.
A product of, Foyle Harps, the Derry City legend won an FAI Cup, three League Cups and helped guide City to a runners-up spot in the league in 2005 and a remarkable UEFA Cup run the following year.
Glasgow giants, Celtic then came calling in 2008 and he was subject of a £200,000 transfer from his hometown club.
McCourt has made no secret of his desire to become a coach when his playing days were done. An UEFA ‘A’ licence holder, he opened the doors to his ‘Talent and Development Academy’, co-founded by former Candy Stripes Assistant boss and midfielder, Martin McCann last October.
He also has experience working at Club NI in Cookstown which allowed him to cut his teeth in coaching.
Shiels recently expressed his concern that the production line of players joining the club’s underage set-up is drying up but McCourt’s expected appointment will no doubt provide fresh impetus to the situation.