Tadhg . . . You’re It!

Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography
Photo: Lorcan Doherty Photography

DERRY City boss, Declan Devine, has targeted former Shamrock Rovers hitman, Tadhg Purcell as a possible front-line partner for striker, Rory Patterson, the “Journal” has learned.

DERRY City boss, Declan Devine, has targeted former Shamrock Rovers hitman, Tadhg Purcell (inset) as a possible front-line partner for striker, Rory Patterson, the “Journal” has learned.

But Devine is also fully aware that the 26-year-old Dubliner is being courted by quite a few clubs following his release from Northampton Town.

Having represented Cork City on loan last season, the striker is now without a club having been released by Northampton and he’s since joined the panel of P.F.A.I.’s “out of contract” players who travelled to Norway earlier this week hoping to secure a future in Scandinavia for next season.

However, when quizzed on whether he had spoken to the player before leaving for Norway, Devine opted to play his cards close to his chest last night.

“I’m interested in quite a few players, some of whom are currently in England and elsewhere on trial. But I’d rather not name names until a signing is imminent,” he said.

Sources in Dublin have confirmed that Derry had been in contact with the player and while Purcell refused to dismiss the possibility of a move to the Brandywell, it is known that Shamrock Rovers and other Irish clubs have already opened contact with him.

When pushed further on the matter, Devine admitted that signing at least one new striker was a high priority given that David McDaid remains keen to secure a future in England despite disappointment following the collapse of his move to Fleetwood Town.

In fact, the 21-year-old will leave Derry bound for York City this weekend to spend a few days on trial with the League Two club who appear to be keen to sign him.

And while he was not expecting to secure the signature of Dundalk front-man, Marc Griffin, it’s believed another two potential candidates have arrived on the horizon.

“I think I can say that we have made the signing of a striker our main priority given that Mark Farren has left us and it now appears that David McDaid will not be remaining at the Brandywell. Young Ryan Curran has returned to training in top form and will certainly get his chance, but we’re still light in that department.

“I would go as far as to state that we have four possible candidates in mind and while I cannot name names, two of those players are currently under contract so we must wait and see what develops on that front.

“But we’re not panicking and we won’t be rushed. Our players all returned to pre-season training last weekend and I’ve been relatively happy with the condition of most of them.

“One of our new signings, Sean Houston and, centre-half, Stewart Greacen, didn’t train as they are overcoming bouts of ‘flu, but everyone else took part in the sessions,” confirmed Devine.

“Obviously some players have returned much fitter than others, but our training sessions will get tougher and more intense as the days progress.

“These days players must also become athletes as well as good technicians and we must ensure that players representing Derry City will be capable of finishing games strongly if we are to improve on last year’s performances.”

On the possibility of spending a few days at Nottingham Forest in a training game, the Derry boss said he was currently investigating all possibilities but much would depend on the finance involved.

“Training camp grants for clubs which have qualified for European competitions have disappeared, so much depends on the price of flights etc. That said, Johnstown House in Co. Meath has been excellent over the past two years, so that possibility is always open to us,” he concluded.