DERRY CITY BOSS Declan Devine is optimistic that Stephen McLaughlin will be fit in time to face Shelbourne in this weekend’s FAI Cup semi-final.
McLaughlin has been one of the stars of Derry’s season, scoring eight league goals, but has been sidelined since picking up a groin injury in the Candystripes’ 7-1 quarter-final win against Mervue United three weeks ago.
The winger is close to a return to action and Devine is making no secret of the fact that if he is fit in time for Sunday’s showdown in the Brandywell, he will play.
“I’m very hopeful that Stephen McLaughlin can come back,” Devine told TheScore.ie on Wednesday.
“Nine times out of 10, managers will say he’ll not be involved and then throw him in, but the reality is I want McLaughlin to play.
“He’s one of our best players and if he’s fit, he’ll play.”
Devine also hopes to be able to call upon Barry Molloy, who sat out Tuesday night’s 4-0 league win at home to Dundalk with a thigh strain.
The midfielder signed a new two-year contract at the Brandywell earlier this week and Devine is delighted that Molloy has committed to the club until 2014, his testimonial year.
“It’s been on the cards for a few weeks. I sat down with Barry and it was relatively easy.
“Barry Molloy is a bit like myself. He very much appreciates being involved with Derry City Football Club. He’s been here nine, almost 10 years.
He epitomises what I think is right about the football club. He works hard, he keeps himself well, he’s disciplined, he’s a physical strong player and he wants to do well. That’s exactly the kind of player I want to keep here.
This year I feel we’ve missed out on our experienced players: Barry Molloy, Ger Doherty, Stewart Greacen, Kevin Deery. All of these players are vitally important to Derry City Football Club.