DROGHEDA UNITED manager Mick Cooke says he's determined to hang on to his in-demand pair of Ryan and Gavin Brennan in the face of cross-channel interest.
A number of British clubs were in Drogheda on Friday night to spy on the Brennan brothers in Drogheda's 3-1 win over Bray Wanderers, and Cooke has confirmed to the Evening Herald that two un-named clubs – one in the Championship and one in the SPL – have made an inquiry about the duo. “There is definite interest there and the clubs are well aware of the lads and what they can do,” Cooke said ahead of Drogheda's EA Sports Cup game at home to local rivals Dundalk tonight.
“As far as I am concerned they will be staying. I will never stand in the way of a player making progress in the game and testing himself at a higher level but as things stand I don't want to see them leave.
“We are in a good position in the league, we are in the top four and we are there on merit and we are in contention for the two cup competitions so I don't want to weaken our squad by selling our best players.
“If it was a case that we were out of contention in the league and knocked out of the cups then maybe it's something we'd consider.
“And if a big offer comes in of course we will look at it but as of now I don't want to see the two lads, or anyone else, leaving this club until the end of the season,” added Cooke, who also has a third member of the Brennan clan (Sean) in the first team squad while older sibling Killian is lining out for Shamrock Rovers.
It's been a while since Drogheda sold a player to a foreign club for a transfer fee and Cooke admits that getting clubs to pay up front is difficult in the current climate.
“In the last few years, when clubs were throwing money around, they would offer an Irish club a big fee up front. Now it's a case of offering you a small
fee up front but trying to bring you in by promising a big sell-on clause if the player moves on,” Cooke says.
United have been able to add to their own squad in recent days, bringing in Alan Byrne and Conor McMahon from the now-defunct Monaghan United, but as a former manager of Monaghan, Cooke admits he's sad to see his old club exit the league.
“It's bad for the league overall to see a club go, it hurts everyone,” Cooke admits. “It's not good for us, we were due to play Monaghan at home next month, but with that game now gone, we have only one home league game, against UCD, so that has an effect on our gates and our budget.”
Drogheda resumed action after the mid-season break on Friday with a 3-1 win over Bray but Cooke hopes for an improvement in the coming weeks.
“It was a good result against Bray but we didn't play that well. It was a case of getting the three points and moving on. We have a Cup game tonight and I'd like to see us doing well in the League Cup,” he added.