Hearts forward Ally Roy closing in on Derry City move

Alistair Roy of Sligo, pictured in action against St Pat's, is understood to be close to signing for Derry City.'' �INPHO/Bryan Keane
Alistair Roy of Sligo, pictured in action against St Pat's, is understood to be close to signing for Derry City.'' �INPHO/Bryan Keane

DERRY City are understood to be favourites to secure the signature of Hearts striker, Ally Roy after the Scotsman turned down an offer from Sligo Rovers this week.

The 21 year-old from Airdrie, who can also operate on the wing, returned to Tynecastle yesterday after his six month loan deal with Sligo was cut short when it became clear he wouldn’t be signing a permanent deal with the Bit O’Red.

And now City boss, Kenny Shiels is understood to be winning the race to snap him up with the deal expected to be concluded this weekend.

Roy, who netted the second goal in Sligo’s 2-1 win over Derry last February, is also attracting interest from several Scottish clubs and a source close to the player claims he’s ‘torn’ between staying in the League of Ireland and returning home.

However, with Sligo now out of the picture, it’s opened the door for a move to Derry City with Hearts willing to let him leave as a free agent.

“Sligo had the first option to offer Allistair a deal but missed the deadline set by Hearts, so he’s free to talk to other clubs.

“There has been lots of interest in him, both in Scotland and Ireland, due to his form over the past month but Derry City is in the driving seat.

“He’s been torn between what to do as it would be his first permanent contract in four years since he signed his deal with Hearts when he was 17.

“It’s not an easy decision for him but the prospect of playing European football is a big carrot.”

Should the Scotsman agree terms with the Candy Stripes he would become Shiels’ third signing since the mid-season break, following in the footsteps of his son, Dean and Ben Fisk who officially completed their respective deals this week.

Shiels is also hopeful of securing the services of former Kilmarnock and Dunfermline playmaker, Aaron Splaine who has been training with the club in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, left back, Jack Doyle will play his final game for the club against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght tonight before he returns to his parent club, Blackburn Rovers.

Ronan Hale, however, has handed the club a huge boost by agreeing to extend his loan deal from Birmingham City until the end of the season.

The 19-year old has featured in 22 games for the Candystripes this season, netting seven times in total, including that memorable hat-trick on his Brandywell debut against Limerick and he has quickly become an integral part of Shiels’ squad.

The Derry boss was delighted with the recent developments as he prepares for the resumption of league action in Tallaght.

“Ronan is a great lad and he has certainly impressed in his time here. He is getting better with game-time experience and I’m delighted that he is staying. We are very grateful to Birmingham City for their part in allowing this to happen,” concluded the Derry manager.