NEWLY appointed Derry City boss, Declan Devine has embraced the huge challenge of rebuilding the club but claims he only wants players who are fit to wear the jersey!
Devine, who returns to his hometown club for a second managerial spell five years after parting company with the Candy Stripes, insists he’s ‘excited’ at the chance to put his own stamp on the team having signed a two year deal.
He faces an ominous task but is confident he can attract the right players to the club as he looks to re-establish the Brandywell club’s identity.
“Before we sign any player, we’ll make sure he fits our criteria as a football club,” claimed the new Derry boss. “He must be determined, focused and hungry to play for Derry.
“If he’s not, then they’re wasting their time. If you’re not hungry to play for Derry and not willing to do what’s required you’re wasting your time as it’s not a good fit. I’m open minded and everyone has a role to play at this football club.
“There’s a lot of things that have been neglected and a lot of things that need fixed and we certainly aren’t coming into it with our eyes closed. We’re coming in knowing exactly what we need to do, who we need to speak to.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix but at the same time we fully expect to be competitive this season and make sure that when the players pull on that Derry City shirt, the least you get is 110 per cent effort and commitment.
“There are not too many locally based players at the club and while that’s not going to change overnight, we’ll certainly try to put structures in place so we have an identity as a club, footballers and staff.”
With in-demand players like Aaron McEneff and Jamie McDonagh out of contract, Devine will make it his priority to open talks with last year’s playing staff whom he wants to remain at the club. However, he has a very clear idea of the type of player he wants in his team.
“The bottom line is if players want to play for Derry City and they match the criteria, we set down as staff, then we will have conversations.
“If people want to move for money, or any other reason, then that’s fair enough. We can’t control that. We want players that are within our budget and willing to work towards the success of this football club. If you don’t, then all the best.
“I’ll be working with good people. We’ve got a brilliant backroom staff and I want a good squad of players that are eager to get out on that pitch on a Friday night and perform for the fans.
“If you haven’t got that drive and determination to play for the football club then you are wasting your time here.
"The budget is down to myself, the chairman and the directors but I want to go in here and put structures in place, there has to be a pathway for players.
“We can provide an unbelievable professional football club which is a platform onto bigger and better things.”
Cork City manager, John Caulfield recently suggested ex-Brandywell favourite, Barry McNamee is set for a move closer to his Ramelton home after leaving Turner’s Cross.
The midfielder won the FAI Cup under Devine in 2012 but is he on the Creggan man’s radar?
“It’s great that quality of player is being mentioned. We (his backroom team) have already spoken over the last few days about who we want to speak to and who we want to attract.
“Our recruitment is going to be key. Yes, it’s going to be very difficult to attract people to come again and people are tied up already but the one thing we will be doing is homework on every single player. They need to be the right fit for Derry City.
“The club has to mean something to them. The environment has to be right for them. Their professionalism, their discipline, their lifestyle has got to be huge in this. It’s a wonderful place to live, it’s a wonderful place to play but they have got to be right.
“They have to bring with them an application and attitude that is fitting of wearing the jersey.”