JAMES McClean will be occupying his normal berth against Dundalk at the Brandywell tonight, the Creggan man still commanding attention from other clubs despite having met with Peterborough officials on Tuesday last. (7.45 p.m.)
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
Having spoken to both ‘Posh’ owner, Barry Fry and manager, Darren Ferguson, the player left the club without giving any commitment, suggesting that he would think the matter over with his family before making any decision on his future.
And while the Championship club have tabled an offer of £250,000 plus ‘add-ons,’ Derry have rejected the deal, insisting that their valuation of the player is closer to £350,000.
It’s no secret either that Wigan Athletic are believed to be waiting in the wings, but the emergence of another Premiership club yesterday, is set to make McClean’s future even more interesting.
Commenting last night, Derry boss, Stephen Kenny, confirmed that the player would play against Dundalk this evening and the Dubliner had nothing but praise for his talented and highly rated left-winger.
“James trained with us on Wednesday and again today and he will be involved in the team which will play Dundalk on Friday night,” said Kenny.
“Everyone at Derry City have respected how hard James has worked, particularly this season. His rate of improvement has been rapid, and he deserves great credit for that. He has listened to the coaching staff and is willing to go that bit extra in order to improve. James is never happy at being okay, he always wants to go that bit extra to improve and be the best he can be,” added Kenny.
“He has spoken with Peterborough United but a few clubs from the Premiership are now looking at him but whether anything materialises on that front, we don’t know. The deadline for signing players in England is August 31st, so he’s got time on his hands and we believe he should investigate all his options, rather than jump at the first concrete offer.”
Exciting game ahead?
Looking towards this evening’s game against Ian Foster’s ‘Lilywhites,’ Kenny has been impressed with Dundalk this season, particularly in players such as Daniel Kearns, Ross Gaynor and striker, Mark Quigley.
“They have quick, skilful players who are also excellent ‘dribblers’ when on the ball, so we’ll have to be at ourselves and prepare really well for a game which, I believe, would prove to be very exciting given the forward threat on each team.”
Interestingly, Derry have won three games on the spin and, indeed, remain unbeaten in the league in their last eight fixture - the last time they lost was actually against tonight’s opposition at Oriel Park back in May.
However, the main incentive for the home lot is the fact that the “Candy Stripes” will claim outright leadership of the Premier Division with a victory.
“That’s a tremendous incentive for us,” continued Kenny. “The players have been terrific this season and now have an opportunity to win four consecutive league games and, at the same time, go top of the league table. I think that would give everyone at the club a tremendous boost and we must aim to achieve that.
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