DERRY City is currently the “biggest shop window” in Irish football, according to the Brandywell club’s latest recruit, formerDundalk striker, Mark Griffin.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And the 21-years-old, who has finally put pen to paper on a two year contract with the Foyleside club, is anxious to take full advantage of such a situation with the hope of a move to a full-time contract with a cross-channel club high on his personal agenda.
Delighted and relieved that his impending transfer to the “Candy Stripes” has finally been sealed, Griffin said he was ready to play his part in what’s expected to be a very busy schedule for the Brandywell club in 2013.
Indeed, having accompanied fellow Dundalk hitman, Michael Rafter, to the Brandywell after the Tipperary native had officially joined Derry, Griffin believes he made the right move.
“I haven’t looked back since deciding to do my pre-season with Derry despite the difficulties which had been going on behind the scenes,” he claimed..
“And no disrespect to Dundalk, but the training and the coaching that I’ve been receiving over the past few weeks, is of a much higher standard than I had been used to,” insisted the striker.
“But as a result of the work I have been expected to put in on the training ground in pre-season, I feel more stronger than I’ve ever been. I feel sharper and fitter and the fact that we’re now about to take part in an intensive training camp in Monaghan this weekend, says so much about Derry City’s professionalism,” he added.
“I’m aware that there had been difficulties between the clubs, but my priority was always to sign for Derry City when I was informed that they wanted me.
“I completed by contract at Oriel Park and I made it clear that I wanted to move on and now that I’ve signed, I intend to keep my head down, work really hard and battle for my place in the Derry City first team.”
Having now trained on a daily basis with his new club, Griffin was impressed at the quality of the current panel now based at the Lone Moor Road venue.
“There’s great quality in this squad. So many top class players and I honestly believe that Derry could surprise quite a few of the top teams this season.
“If fact, I believe they could be the Drogheda United of 2013 given what I’ve seen at close quarters over the past few weeks.”
He refused to take anything for granted in relation to holding down a first team place.
“Rory Patterson is a senior international player who has played with clubs in England and, obviously, I’m fully aware of the ability of Michael Rafter who is my best mate, having played with him last season.
“But I’ve also got to take into consideration the quality of the younger Derry players trying to break through into the squad and they are also talented performers.
“So I can’t take anything for granted and I’m prepared to do what it takes to get noticed by the management team.”
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