herald

Monday 24 November 2014

McLaughlin happy with his trial as he awaits Forest's verdict

DERRY CITY star Stephen McLaughlin says he believes he could make the grade at Championship level in England after a trial with Nottingham Forest last week.

And the Donegal-born player is this week waiting to see if he was able to impress Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll enough for the club to come to Derry with a firm offer.

Former Finn Harps man McLaughlin was one of the outstanding players for Derry last season as they finished the term on a high by winning the FAI Cup final, and his form sparked cross-channel interest, with Forest first up to offer the 22-year-old a week-long trial.

"The trial went well as far as I am concerned and the Forest manager said I had done well, there's not much more I can do now and I suppose the next move will depend on any talks between the two clubs," McLaughlin told the Evening Herald following his return home to Donegal.

"I think I acquitted myself well over there and having seen the standard, I feel I could play at that level. It was a step-up from what I am used to, the pace was a lot quicker in training but I didn't feel out of place at all.

"They have a good squad there with a lot of internationals, players like Simon Cox, but I did well in anything I had to do," added McLaughlin.

The winger travelled over to England last Monday and trained with the Forest first team squad on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first team had a day off on Thursday so the Derry player spent the day with the U21s but was back training with O'Driscoll's first team squad on Friday before returning home, and now he plays the waiting game.

"They haven't said that there's a contract there for me on the table and something will only happen if the clubs come to an agreement. I have a year left on my contract with Derry and as far as I am concerned I am a Derry City player until I am told otherwise.

"We are due back into the club today for conditioning and assessment and if nothing happens I'd be intent on doing even better for Derry City next year, we have a big season ahead of us with European qualification on top of everything else," he added.

Forest's plans for McLaughlin could depend on the fitness of Cox as he suffered a serious injury in Saturday's Championship win over Wolves. If Cox is ruled out long-term, Forest may be forced into the transfer market.

Derry boss Declan Devine has started planning for next season and the capture of Shelbourne winger Paddy Kavanagh suggests that City expect the highly-rated McLaughlin to move on.

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