Michael McCrudden staying put at Institute

Michael McCrudden will remain with Institute for the rest of the season.
Michael McCrudden will remain with Institute for the rest of the season.
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After weeks of speculation Institute have confirmed Michael McCrudden is staying at the club.

The club released a statement on Tuesday morning confirming the ’Stute skipper will see out his contract by remaining at the club for the rest of the Irish League season.

McCrudden was a target for both Derry City and Coleraine but ’Stute have convinced the 26 year-old to remain where he is until the end of the current Danske Bank Premiership campaign.

"Institute Football Club can confirm that despite recent interest from a number of other clubs during the January transfer window, Michael McCrudden will remain at the club," the statement said.

"This decision has been taken with due regard to the needs and aspirations of the club and the wellbeing of all our players and coaching staff."

The Gobnascale man has netted 19 goals this season, winning two ‘Player of the Month’ accolades and has been a major player for ’Stute over the last 18 months.

Indeed, the form of Paddy McLaughlin’s side has dipped dramatically since the speculation broke that the Candy Stripes and Bannsiders were in discussions to sign his talisman. Since securing an impressive win at Newry City on New Year’s Day, ’Stute have suffered four straight defeats - Warrenpoint Town (Irish Cup), Glentoran, Warrenpoint and Crusaders - with McLaughlin admitting after their Warrenpoint defeat that: “Michael’s situation has to be sorted and the sooner the better because it’s a distraction right across the board, right throughout the club.”

He went on to say: “I’m sure the players are sick answering the questions about what’s going on too.

“To be honest, no one really knows because I’m the manager of the club and I don’t know but whatever is happening, I hope it’s resolved fairly soon.”

The 26-year-old’s decision to stay will come as a big blow for Candy Stripes boss Declan Devine, who last week insisted he would love to have the player on board for the club’s pre-season trip to Isle of Man.