KENNY SHIELS has refused to deny speculation that Derry City captain, Gerard Doherty has sensationally left the club.
It’s understood the Creggan man, who concludes his testimonial celebrations tomorrow night at the Maldron Hotel, is contemplating ending his 10 year association with his hometown club after a breakdown in relations with the City boss.
When questioned about the rumours Shiels opted to remain tight-lipped, simply stating the goalkeeper is still under contract.
“Gerard has just signed a new contract in the last couple of months,” he said bluntly.
Doherty didn’t travel to Bray on Monday night with Shiels claiming afterwards; ‘Gerard has been ill and hasn’t recovered from that’ but it’s understood he won’t be travelling with the squad for tonight’s final game of the season against St Pat’s at Richmond Park.
With Irish League champions, Crusaders understood to be monitoring the situation with the view to signing the experienced custodian, it’s another huge blow for Derry City should Doherty depart the club.
Whether Doherty stays or goes, Derry boss, Shiels faces a major problem with a potential player exodus on the cards. Indeed, popular Scottish midfielder, Nicky Low yesterday confirmed he has left the club following a two-year spell on Foyleside.
Shamrock Rovers are also understood to be chasing the signature of Aaron McEneff while Ireland U21 international, Rory Hale has been linked with Crusaders.
Jamie McDonagh earlier this week revealed that he had yet to be offered a contract by the club but Shiels claims he’s had several discussions with the player, adding that the club are unable to meet the demands of certain players.
“I’ve spoken with Jamie McDonagh more than any other player to try and get him to re-sign,” said Shiels.
“It’s not governed by how much we want them. We have to bring players back who are relative to our budget. If a player asks for more money than we can afford then that will hit a cul-de-sac.
“We can’t be financially competitive and the expectations should be measured on that in terms of who we can bring in and who we can’t.
“And the geographical base, there’s so many things, is a massive disadvantage. But we’ll keep going.”
With mounting speculation about his players and suggestions of disharmony within the City camp, Shiels insists he must try to build a happy dressing room next season.
“I need some good experienced players in who have ran the race before,” he said. “We need positivity about the place.
“We need people in the club that are compatible with positive energy.
“If a player is not compatible with positivity then that causes an obstruction in any football team. I want a positive environment.
“Hopefully we will see that for next season, we’ll have more players who are trying to be positive and have a team dynamic which is every bit as important as the team itself. That makes the team.
“We had that earlier in the season. I think next season we’re going to have to rebuild again. I want the players to be a compatible fit for a happy dressing room,” concluded the Derry boss.