Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe to continue talks with Derry City as Higgins hopes to bolster squad

DERRY CITY boss Ruaidhri Higgins is expected to bolster his squad for 2022 with another signing next week but he’s giving nothing away until the conclusion of this year’s campaign tonight in Dundalk.

By Simon Collins
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:44 pm
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe pictured in action against Sligo last week, is ineligible to play against his parent club Dundalk this weekend.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe pictured in action against Sligo last week, is ineligible to play against his parent club Dundalk this weekend.

Two of Dundalk’s most prized assets, Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney, will join the Higgins revolution next season and the Limavady man has promised more additions in the coming weeks.

“From the outset, when I first came in, we started planning straight away,” he said. “We’ve had targets in mind from very early on and we’ve a lot of work done. Again, there will be announcements in the coming weeks but we just want to fully focus on Friday night and try and pick up a huge three points. We can talk more after Friday about what’s ahead over the next few weeks.”

Another current Dundalk player who has been instrumental in Derry’s upsurge in fortunes this season, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, is out of contract at the end of the campaign and Higgins expects to continue talks with the Englishman after tonight’s final league match.

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Ogedi-Uzokwe is ineligible for the game against his parent club but Higgins admitted he’s been ‘crucial’ to Derry’s bid for European qualification.

“Of course I’ve had a couple of brief conversations with Junior,” he said. “We were both intent on focussing on getting to the end of the season and then we will have another conversation. I know he really enjoys his football here.

“If you look at his best periods over the last number of years they’ve been at Derry. We’ll have a conversation and see where it goes. It will be an open and honest conversation but again, that will happen after Friday.

“Junior has been crucial to our upsurge in form over the last couple of months. He’s really given us a different dimension along with McGonigle in terms of goal threat, goal involvements. He’s had a huge impact in terms of our upturn in form.”

Another key player in Derry’s season has been skipper Eoin Toal who reportedly attracted interest from clubs in both Scotland and England during the summer window. Higgins certainly doesn’t want to lose the influential 22 year-old, who sits out tonight’s game through suspension, and until he’s told otherwise, Toal remains at the heart of his plans for the 2022 campaign.

“Honestly I haven’t heard anything but it wouldn’t surprise me. Eoin is a born leader and has great experience for someone so young. For selfish reasons I would love to have him here for the next five years and hopefully he is for the long haul.

“There was a bit of interest towards the end of the last window and we’ll see what happens in January but planning wise, we’re planning that Eoin Toal is going to be here. Until I’m told differently anyway.”