DERRY CITY are facing competition from rivals, Bohemians for the signature of top-rated UCD striker, Conor Davis according to Students’ boss, Collie O’Neill.
The 20 year-old former Reading striker held talks with Derry City boss, Declan Devine last week, however, UCD has yet to receive an official bid for the player who is under contract until the end of the season.
With Bohs striker, Dinny Corcoran facing a lengthy period on the sidelines after sustaining a foot injury in the Gypsies’ recent defeat to Sligo Rovers, manager, Keith Long has been left light up front and is understood to be eyeing up a move for Davis.
Devine is hoping to bolster his attacking options when the July transfer window opens given the uncertainty surrounding the futures of loan signings, David Parkhouse and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
And UCD manager, O’Neill confirmed the Candy Stripes have sounded out the club over a move for former Ireland underage international, Davis.
“Derry got in touch with the club for permission to talk to Conor,” revealed O’Neill. “Conor spoke with Derry but that’s all I know. Conor is under contract until the end of the year.
“We haven’t heard anything back from Derry but the player and the club have had a chat, so we’ll wait and see how it plays out in the coming weeks.
“I think Bohs are also interested in him also with Dinny Corcoran getting injured. I don’t think either club would get into a bidding war so it will probably just come down to whichever club Conor decides is the one he wants to go to,” he predicted.
Davis is just one of a host of UCD players attracting interest from fellow League of Ireland clubs and the summer transfer window hasn’t been welcomed by O’Neill.
The Dubliners have already agreed deals with Shamrock Rovers for star players, Gary O’Neill and Neil Farrugia while goalkeeper, Conor Kearns and defender, Liam Scales are also being linked to various clubs as the vultures continue to circle Belfield.
It’s a devastating blow for the UCD boss as he attempts to keep the club in the Premier Division this season, but it’s a scenario he accepts given the financial constraints at the Bowl.
“There’s substance to all the rumours,” admitted O’Neill. “That’s the way it is at UCD. These players come in and perform at a high level and then we never have the financial backing to keep them.
“Other clubs come in and offer them full-time football and a bigger wage and it’s no surprise when the player goes.
“None of the players are going for free, however. There have been good financial offers made to the club so that’s the only reason the club are willing to let them go.
“The club has invested an awful lot of money into these players and they’re not going to just let them walk during the July Transfer window unless there’s a good fee involved.”
In terms of Derry target, Davis, who spent 18 months at Reading, O’Neill believes the Foylesiders will be getting a top player should they seal the deal.
“He’s got plenty of potential and has been really, really good for us. He played here in the Templeogue side which was one of the top schoolboy sides in the country and they were winning everything.
“He then got offered a really good deal at Reading when he had a host of clubs chasing him.
“He went to Reading, did well and got offered another contract but he never got any luck and picked up a few injuries. He never had the run of form to get a full run of games.
“He had options to go to other English clubs but wanted to come back to Ireland to just play football.”
The accountancy student joined UCD as a replacement for ex-Derry City striker, Georgie Kelly midway through last season, helping the Dubliners to promotion to the top flight.