Scouts from Premiership club Newcastle United and Championship side Burnley F.C. attended Friday’s game between Derry City and Cork City at the Brandywell.
It’s unclear who the scouts were there to observe but the Sunday Journal understands that the scout representing Newcastle was there to watch Patrick McEleney whilst a scout representing Burnley was showing an interest in Derry winger Stephen McLaughlin.
Derry beat Tommy Dunne’s men 2-0 with goals coming from Mark Farren and Donegal man McLaughlin.
Speaking to the Sunday Journal after the game, Derry City manager Declan Devine refused to comment on individual players but said that if big teams in England want to sign the best of what Derry City F.C. has to offer then they will have to “pay top dollar”.
“The only thing I would say is that as a club we have to be prepared and that we are not going to underestimate ourselves.
“If scouts are going to come and watch and try to buy some of our best players then I believe that we should be asking for proper money.
“Danny Lafferty has left Derry and gone straight into the Burnley first team. James McClean only left Derry City last year and he’s now flying high in the English Premiership. A lot the players who have left Derry City don’t need a bedding period because they are of such high quality.
“We have a better standard of player in our team than most of the reserve teams in England have.
“We have to be strong as a club because if big teams want to come and take our best players we can’t really do anything about it but the clubs have to be prepared to pay top dollar for them and if that’s the case then we will shake one another’s hands and move on.”
Devine added that whilst he never wants to lose his best players he looks at the situation as something that “works both way”.
“We are doing something right and if the players continue to improve then so be it.
“If players want to move on to higher level we can’t really stand in their way but as a club we have to discuss what way we want to go.
“We want to be successful here but we don’t want to stand in anyone’s way. We also want to make sure that we are winning matches and playing in front of big crowds.
“At the end of the day, we have proved in the past that if players are good enough and the deals are right then things can be done.
“However, we are trying to attract players to the club too and if the opportunity of being spotted by a scout for big team in England is what they want then, if they are good enough, they’ll certainly get that.
“It works both ways. We want the best players playing for Derry City but if we get a good deal for them then so be it.”