James McClean tells Derry City chairman he's 'willing to talk' as pair share joke at FAI Cup Final

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JAMES McClean has been fuelling rumours of a potential return to Derry City in recent weeks and the Wigan winger teased chairman Philip O'Doherty on Sunday when telling the billionaire businessman he's 'willing to talk'.

The proud Derry man, who will be involved with Republic of Ireland in tonight's friendly against Norway in Dublin, was wearing the Candystripes' home jersey and supporting his hometown club in Sunday's FAI Cup Final at the Aviva.

The 33 year-old has previously spoken of his desire to end his career with the Foylesiders who he left in 2011 for Sunderland and his current contract at Wigan expires next May.

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City boss Ruaidhri Higgins has thrown cold water on speculation in recent weeks, telling people to 'get real' and his chairman, Mr O'Doherty, who is a keen admirer of the Creggan man, wasn't given much away when quizzed on the rumours.

"I'm not the manager," he responded. "He was with a group of players at the reception of the team hotel and I was walking past on the way to the match and said; 'James, we might need you in the second half'. He said; 'Phil, that's up to you. I'm willing to talk,'laughed Mr O'Doherty.

"Obviously there will be a lot of things discussed over the next few days but James has been a fabulous servant to Derry City and has done really well in his career in the clubs he's played for and as an Irish international and I really admire him."

Higgins was also asked whether he was interested in bringing McClean back to Brandywell next year during Sunday's post-match press conference but the Limavady man refused to entertain questions about the Ireland star, instead joking that he was excited about him arriving in January.

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"He was up where we were lifting the trophy with his Derry jersey on. Someone said the camera went on him during the game. And I heard he was signing a three year deal with us last week as well. Looking forward to him joining the club in January," he laughed.