NOTTINGHAM Forest are continuing to keep tabs on Derry City winger, Stephen McLaughlin, while right-back, Simon Madden, has asked for more time before making up his mind on his future, the “Journal” has learned.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
And while many supporters firmly believe that Madden will spend next season much closer to home in Dublin, Brandywell boss, Declan Devine last night insisted that a decision had not yet been made.
“We touched base on Tuesday night and Simon was made an offer to remain with us for another season at least,” confirmed Devine.
“We had a good chat and Simon openly declared how much he enjoyed playing for the club and, indeed, living in Derry but it was clear that a move closer to home appealed to him.
“He also told me that he had other options as other clubs had come in but he wanted more time to discuss his future with his girlfriend before making any decision,” added Devine.
“That’s where we left it and I’m hopeful he will get back to me sooner rather than later.”
However, on the speculation that Npower Championship club, Nottingham Forest, were about to invite Stephen McLaughlin over to the City Ground for talks, Devine insisted that he was not aware of such a move.
However, the Derry boss did admit that Forest have been watching the player and, indeed, had one of their top officials present in the Aviva Stadium for the recent FAI Cup Final.
“We are aware that Stephen had been watched by a number of clubs and while some of those clubs have identified themselves, none have come forward attempting to open discussions with us in relation to a possible transfer,” claimed Devine.
“We have had quite a few clubs from England and Scotland watching our players throughout last season. We’re used to that and we welcome that, but until a club comes in and makes an offer or, indeed, simply opens negotiations I don’t think it’s right to comment any further.
“Two international games were staged in Belfast and in Dublin last Wednesday night and Derry City had three former players in the World Cup Qualifier in Belfast against Azerbaijan while another two ex-players had been included in the Ireland team which lost out to Greece in the friendly fixture in Dublin.
“So it comes as no surprise to me that clubs continue to be interested in the young players Derry City are continuing to bring through the ranks.
“From a managerial point of view, I’d much prefer not to lose quality players from our squad, but as the club has taken the view that the development of local youth is now paramount, we have to move on and continue attracting youth players who have the potential to play at the top level.
“I will admit that representatives from cross-channel clubs continue to be in contact with us in relation to players but until a transfer is imminent, I’d prefer not to comment,” concluded Devine.
While the powers that be at the Brandywell would welcome interest for McLaughlin, the club’s join top goalscorer with 17 strikes to his credit this season, it’s also worth noting that Finn Harps will hold a watching brief as the Donegal club holds a sell-on clause after the Inishowen man joined the Brandywell club in December last year.