Derry City youngster Rory Holden is currently putting the finishing touches to a two year deal with English Championship side Bristol City, for a undisclosed fee.
The 20-year-old, who impressed Bristol boss Lee Johnson during two recent trials, jetted over this afternoon to finalise the deal before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline in a deal which could net Derry in upwards of £150.000, depended on a number of add-ons.
Derry manager Kenny Shiels, while disappointed to lose the talented midfielder, admitted he feels Holden has all the attributes to be a top player.
“One of my first games as Derry City manager was an Under 19 game and I identified Rory straight away as a player who I would be expecting to push his way into my first team plans,” explained Shiels.
“I felt next season was going to be his real break through year for us but while I’m disappointed we have lost him, I feel it’s a good deal all around for both Derry City and Rory.
“He’s a lovely lad, who has always worked hard and I know he has the right attitude to do well at Bristol.”
The former Top of Hill Celtic man, who has had 10 appearances this season, scored his first senior goal for his hometown club against Sligo Rovers in July and also forced his way into the Northern Ireland U21 set-up.
Holden is the second Derry youngster in recent weeks to get the chance to further his career, something which hasn’t gone on unnoticed by Shiels.
Winger Ronan Curtis had looked set to sign for Swedish club Ostersunds before the deal fell through at the last minute after a failure to agree personal terms.
“Derry City is a pathway for young players to get a career in the professional game across the water,” added Shiels.
“In the last number of weeks we have let two young players talk to clubs with the view to letting them progress their careers. Just because Ronan didn’t go doesn’t mean he wasn’t afforded the opportunity to by us and won’t get another opportunity in the future.”