NEW Derry City manager Declan Devine believes that there is still plenty of time to add to his squad before the new season starts next month.
Devine, 38, told the Sunday Journal that he was happy with how training was going and revealed that former Finn Harps players Packie Mailey (defender) and Matthew Crossan (midfielder) are currently training with the rest of the Derry City team.
“Packie Mailey and Matthew Crossan have come in and are doing well but we will just have to wait and see what happens.
“Training is going well and today [Saturday] I had 24 players at pre-season training. Some people might be worried that we haven’t signed enough players yet but there’s still plenty of time.
“I could have spent all of my transfer budget on players this week but I refuse to be rushed into anything.
“The deal to bring players to Derry City FC has to be right for the club, first and foremost.”
Derry City had been linked with former St. Patrick’s Athletic forward Daryl Kavanagh earlier this week but Devine told the Sunday Journal that the Dubliner contacted him yesterday to tell him that he had agreed to join Stephen Kenny’s Shamrock Rovers.
“Daryl Kavanagh was a player we were looking at but he called me today to tell me that Shamrock Rovers had offered him a better deal.
“I think Rovers were able to offer him more money and if that’s the case I don’t want players coming to play for Derry City for the money - they have to want to play for this club.”
The Candy Stripes have also been linked with former Wolverhampton Wanderers striker and Donegal man John Dunleavy.
Devine hinted that a deal to bring central defender Dunleavy to Derry is still alive but said that the most likely outcome is that he will join Cork City.
“Again, John is another player we have been monitoring but Cork City are also interested in signing him. The deal is not done and dusted yet so we will just have to wait and see.”
Derry City goalkeeper Gerard Doherty was named as PFAI Goalkeeper of the Year for 2011 at an awards dinner in Dublin on Friday evening.
Devine heaped praise upon his goalkeeper and suggested that if he performs in 2012 like he did in 2011 then Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill could call him up to the international squad.
“I was delighted for Gerard because I genuinely believe that he is the best goalkeeper in the league.
“Gerard was hungry for success last year and I think it showed.
“I am always telling the players that because we are from Derry we have to work harder for recognition. Gerard worked hard and he’s been recognised for that - fair play to him.
“I want to see Gerard kick on and play just as well next season. He’s a credit to this football club.”
He added: “I had a long conversation with Michael O’Neill this week and I have invited him down to Derry to watch the team train.
“I think players like Gerard and Daniel Lafferty deserve international recognition. They work hard and are more than capable.”
When asked how his first week in football management had gone Devine said that he was extremely busy but was enjoying every moment of it.
“I have said a few times this week that it’s an honour and a privilege to manage my hometown club. I am really enjoying myself.
“But the hard work started as soon as the board named me as manager and Paul Hegarty as assistant manager.
“We have lost a considerable amount of players and it’s up to us to come up with players who can replace them.
“Collectively, some of the players we lost scored 38 goals for Derry City last season. It’s our task now to find a player or players who can fill that void.
“I would also like to see goals spread amongst the rest of the team next season.
“Daniel Lafferty did well by getting on the score sheet a few times but we need our central defenders, full-backs and central midfielders to find the target more often.”
He added: “I am excited about the new season and if everything goes according to plan I am confident that we can do well.”
Derry City captain Kevin Deery re-signed for the Candy Stripes on Friday.
Deery is now contracted to the club for the next two season and will enjoy a testimonial in 2014.
“Kevin Deery is amongst the best midfielders in the league. We also have top class midfields in Barry Molloy and Ruaidhri Higgins.
“I am delighted that Kevin has agreed to re-sign for the club because he is great leader both on and off the field.”