Paul Hegarty emerges frontrunner for vacant Derry City assistant manager role

Former Finn Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty is among the leading candidates for the vacant Derry City assistant manager's post.Former Finn Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty is among the leading candidates for the vacant Derry City assistant manager's post.
Former Finn Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty is among the leading candidates for the vacant Derry City assistant manager's post.
​DERRY CITY 'treble' winner Paul Hegarty has emerged as one of the front-runners to replace Paddy McLaughlin as the Brandywell club's assistant manager.

​The 56 year-old former midfielder from Ballindrait, Co. Donegal is believed to have always been in contention for the vacant role despite the widely-held view that Alan Reynolds would return to Foyleside from his native Waterford.

While Reynolds remains in the frame, a return to the Candy Stripes hinges on compensation being agreed between Derry and Waterford for the remainder of his contract.

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Speculation has been mounting about Reynold's Brandywell return ever since McLaughlin was stepped down from his duties before Christmas.

However, it's understood ex-Finn Harps and Institute manager and former Derry assistant and caretaker boss, Hegarty has always been in the running and could be appointed in the coming days.

Indeed, Hegarty is understood to be high on Ruaidhri Higgins' list of candidates as the pair already have a close relationship and the Donegal man fits the bill in terms of the character and energy he would bring to the City dressing room and the training pitch.

While Higgins went his entire first season in management without a No.2 in place and waited eight months before bringing in Ireland U21 assistant manager Reynolds, the Limavady man is keen to have someone with plenty of League of Ireland experience in his corner.

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The City boss is preparing for just his third full season in management and Hegarty would no doubt bring that wealth of experience and considerable knowledge to the table.

Hegarty has a longstanding relationship with the Lone Moor Road club since representing the Candy Stripes during two spells from his debut against Finn Harps in August, 23rd 1987 until 2000, making 303 appearances and scoring nine times.

The Donegal man enjoyed a fruitful spell as assistant to ex-Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at Derry City from 2005 to 2006 and steered the club away from relegation as caretaker manager in 2015.

Higgins will be keen to get someone in place in the Brandywell dugout before their league opener against Drogheda United next Friday night therefore Hegarty’s arrival could be imminent.