Sligo bound Danny Lafferty believes Derry City will become dominant force in Irish football

DANNY Lafferty says he will remain a Derry City fan and believes his hometown club is destined to become a dominant force in Irish football.

The 33 year-old made 27 appearances for the Candy Stripes last term but found his game-time limited from mid-summer onwards, ultimately paving the way for a move to the Sligo Showgrounds this week.

When it became clear he wouldn't be in Ruaidhri Higgins' plans for next year Lafferty said he was 'proactive' in his search for regular first team football and contact was made with the Bit O’Red.

Hide Ad

"The desire to play every week comes into it," explained the Carnhill native. "It wasn't a mutual decision. Derry obviously hadn't said anything to me about staying on and then this move came about.

"So I needed to be proactive and it suited me personally but it wasn't that complicated. Contact was made and I spoke with the manager who was working behind the scenes and I agreed to sign.

"Now the season has finished we were able to get the deal over the line."

Hide Ad

Lafferty returned to Brandywell to some fanfare when Declan Devine made him his marquee close season signing in 2020 from Shamrock Rovers after winning the league title with the Dubliners.

He's enjoyed a decorated career at the top level in England and Scotland with Sheffield United, Burnley and Celtic and believes he's still got the hunger for success as he makes the short journey south west to Sligo.

Hide Ad
Daniel Lafferty says he has no regrets about his time with Derry City as he looks forward to his move to Sligo Rovers.

"Every footballer wants to play and probably thinks they should be playing. Managers have to make tough decisions with their team selections and whatever else so you have to respect that.

Hide Ad

"That was part of the draw coming to Sligo and hopefully I get more game time. It wasn't to say I hadn't played all season or wasn't a part of it. I contributed as much as I could and did as best as I could when I was required."

To finish on a high with the FAI Cup triumph at the Aviva Stadium, albeit he was an unused substitute in the showpiece, Lafferty was delighted to experience those memories with his hometown club.

Hide Ad

"It was a nice way to sign off to an extent. That's memories in football you'll always take with you no matter where you go in your career. So to sign off on that high for your hometown club was very enjoyable so you probably couldn't have asked for a better way to go out.

Danny Lafferty celebrates his FAI Cup goal against Shamrock Rovers.
Hide Ad

"I will always be a fan, that will never change," he insisted. "So it's nice to go out on a high. I thoroughly enjoyed both spells at the club with a great bunch of lads. There's no animosity, it's just part and parcel of life and football. Players move on all the time.

"I've no regrets at all," he continued. "I would never say I regret playing for the club or coming at that time. I've had relative success and I really enjoyed both spells so there's no regrets in that aspect. It's just my time to move on."

Hide Ad

He hopes he can help Sligo push on from their fifth place finish last season but he knows it will take some effort to stop a Derry team next year who are on the crest of a wave after a magnificent campaign in 2020 where they emerged as one of the 'heavyweights' of Irish football.

"They are among the heavyweights now of Irish football and you seen Philip's (O'Doherty) comments about backing the manager. You've seen what he's done so far in terms of his backing and the manager has made some very good signings and won the FAI Cup in his first full year as a manager.

Hide Ad
Shamrock Rovers' Karl Sheppard and Danny Lafferty of Derry City back in 2011.

"So they are definitely a club that's going places and they will be very hard to compete against next year and possibly further beyond that.

Hide Ad

"I'm sure Ruaidhri is working hard behind the scenes in strengthening the squad for next season already so I suppose it's down to the rest of the teams in the league now to try to improve and compete with the likes of Rovers and Derry.

"Rovers and Derry are now being mentioned in the same sentence because of the performances they put in this year and finishing off with the cup win has made people think 'wow, they are a team who are going places'."

Hide Ad

Lafferty is hoping he can play a major role in a Sligo team who also have big ambitions with the club unveiling its plans for expansion at the Showgrounds this week – an impressive 6,000 all-seater stadium.

“I'm still ambitious. I might have won this and that but it doesn't matter. The hunger for success never leaves you and hopefully that continues down here in Sligo.

Hide Ad

"Speaking to John, he is a very young and ambitious manager, similar to Ruaidhri in a sense. We've been speaking over the last number of weeks where he has outlined his plans.

“He's got the boys back in already. They had two weeks off but they want to hit the ground running. That outlines his desire to be successful.

Hide Ad

"It's a big club, a great club and they want to get back into playing in Europe and competing at the top end of the table. Hopefully I can contribute to that.”

Read More
Danny Lafferty leaves Derry City for Sligo Rovers with a 'heavy heart'