DERRY CITY boss, Declan Devine reckons negotiations to bring back five members of last season's squad is the 'most important piece of business' he's conducted so far.
The Brandywell club announced the return of in-demand winger, Jamie McDonagh which Decine described as a 'major boost' for the Candy Stripes as the Lisburn man turned down offers from both Crusaders and St Pat's to agree a one year deal with Derry.
Northern Ireland U21 internationals, Eoin Toal and Nathan Gartside both agreed two year extensions to their current contracts ensuring they remain on Foyleside until the end of the 2022 season at least.
And defenders, Darren Cole and Mark McChrystal both signed one year deals with Devine insisting the pair have major roles to play in the upcoming campaign.
The announcement comes hot on the heels on the arrival of ex Chelsea Youth captain, former St Pat's midfielder, Conor Clifford last Tuesday night and Devine is delighted to keep the nucleus of last year's panel as he bids to improve on their fourth place finish in 2019.
"I think this is the most important piece of business that we've done up until this point in terms of keeping the nucleus of last year's group together," said the City boss.
"I think everyone sitting at the table played a huge part last year. It was a no-brainer to try and tie everyone down to the club again for this season on the back of last year.
"There was a lot of success but at the same time we want to push it on. For us to achieve success this year it's very important that the people that were here last year are ready to push us on.
"We're delighted that Eoin (Toal) has signed a two year extension to the year he already has. Nathan (Gartside) has done the same so they're both on pretty much three year contracts now.
"Darren (Cole) has signed a year contract as has Jamie (McDonagh) and Mark (McChrystal). It gives us that feel good factor from last year which we can continue on into next year.
"More importantly it gives us really good people and players at the club for 2020."