Derry City join Blackburn and Dundalk in Patrick McEleney chase

Patrick McEleney is out of contract and has held talks with his hometown club, Derry City.
Patrick McEleney is out of contract and has held talks with his hometown club, Derry City.

FORMER Derry City star, Patrick McEleney, could be set for a sensational return to Brandywell Stadium ahead of the 2018 Airtricity Premier League campaign.

The 25 years-old Shantallow man held talks with City boss, Kenny Shiels yesterday afternoon as he sounded out the possibility of a return to his hometown club, should a move to England fail to materialise before January.

He is set to hold talks with EFL League One club, Blackburn Rovers next week and is also scheduled to meet representatives from both Doncaster Rovers and Oldham Athletic as he continues to weigh up his options.

McEleney, who left Brandywell at the end of the 2015 season to sign for then champions, Dundalk, is a free agent after two years at Oriel Park where he picked up a league winners’ medal and League Cup title.

And while a return to Dundalk is also on the cards, it’s understood the player would be open to a move back home, should the right deal be in place.

Should Shiels fend off rivals Dundalk for his signature, it would come as a significant boost to the ‘Candy Stripes’ following the departure of Barry McNamee to Cork City.

McEleney, who scored 40 goals in 225 appearances for City, will be in Dublin’s Marker Hotel tomorrow night for the 2017 PFAI player awards.

Selected in the 2017 team of the year, McEleney has also been nominated alongside Derry’s Aaron McEneff and ex-Cork striker, Sean Maguire for the ‘player of the season’ accolade.

The former Sunderland midfielder netted 10 times in 26 league appearances for the ‘Lilywhites’ last season and once in the 3-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup Final. He was also shortlisted for ‘goal of the season’ having netted several stunning strikes during the campaign but finished third behind Conan Byrne (St Pat’s) and Paddy McCourt (Finn Harps).

Dundalk boss, Stephen Kenny, who handed McEleney his Derry City debut on March 19th, 2010 against Waterford as a 17 years-old, felt the lure of playing in England may prove irresistible for the Derry lad. However, City could potentially be the Oriel Park side’s biggest rivals for his signature.