Patrick McClean set for Derry City return

Patrick McClean looks set for a move back to the Brandywell.
Patrick McClean looks set for a move back to the Brandywell.

DEFENDER Patrick McClean could complete a move back to the Brandywell in the coming days.

After weeks of negotiations it’s believed that both Derry City and Sligo Rovers are close to agreeing a fee for the Creggan man.

The 22-year-old has still one year remaining on his contract with Liam Buckley’s side but boss Declan Devine has confirmed that talks are continuing to bring him back to Foyleside.

“We want to bring Derry based players to the club, we want to bring players who know the city and know the club,” stated Devine.

“Look, Patrick McClean still has a year left on his contract at Sligo. Would we like to bring him? Of course we would but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Another former Derry youngster who played alongside McClean under John Quigg and Eddie Seydak at underage level, who could be set for a return is Ciaron Harkin.

The Coleraine midfielder could be involved in a swap deal with Ben Doherty making the move to the Showgrounds.

Doherty, whose current loan deal at fellow Irish League Premiership side Glenavon ends next month, has attracted attention from a host of clubs.

However, from the Candy Stripes’ point of view, the preferred outcome would be for Doherty to make the switch to the Bannsiders with Harkin going in the opposite direction.

“Ciaron still has to play until January 1st, there’s a couple of offers in for Ben Doherty from different clubs,” added Devine.

“Ciaron has two or three games to play for Coleraine and anything could happen there between now and January 1st, but as I keep saying he is a Coleraine player and yes we would be interested in him.

“He like Patrick is a Derry lad and they both have experience of playing senior football at other clubs, but we’re nowhere close to a deal being completed.”

The Derry gaffer is relaxed about his squad going into Christmas and believes that squad will continue to grow when pre-season training gets underway in January.

“Look I’m not frustrated or even worried, because we have 11 or 12 really good players at the football club, which I’m delighted with,” he confirmed.

“We hope to add another four or five before pre-season starts and that’s only two weeks from today (Thursday). Even though it’s Christmas and people are taking a bit of time off, the work won’t stop from our end.

“We have to make sure that come January 3rd we have a squad for pre-season, but we are also going to be adding to that during pre-season; like Josh Kerr, he’ll come over and have a look around and we would then like to do a bit a business with him.

“There’s going to be others like that as well, who’ll be coming in throughout the month of January and hopefully they’ll like what they’ll see and we’ll like what we see and then move on from there.”

While pre-season training gets underway in a few weeks time, Devine hopes to confirm friendlies in the coming days.

“We are talking to a few clubs to see how they are fixed,” added the Derry boss,

“We want to pick our games accordingly, so with us facing UCD in the opening game we want to play a side similar to their style of play.

“We’ll obviously try to organise the Billy Kee Memorial Cup match against Institute but I have left one or two members of staff to sort that out and another few members of staff are involved with recruitment.

“Myself and Kevin (Deery) were in Dublin on Wednesday night at the PFAI showcase game. We spoke to a few managers and in the next few days we’ll hopefully have confirmation of a few pre-season games.”