BY AIDAN O’DONNELL
It’s been an anxious couple of weeks for Barry McNamee who has been strongly linked to sign for Nottingham Forest after impressing on a week-long trial at the club.
The Derry City midfielder, who hails from Ramelton, recently followed team-mate Stephen McLaughlin over to the Championship club for a trial and the duo have been heavily tipped to sign for Sean O’Driscoll’s side as part of a double swoop.
McLaughlin travelled over to England on Wednesday for a medical but won’t be able to sign for the club until January 1, when the international transfer window opens.
The same rules would apply to McNamee but the former Swilly Rovers player revealed he hasn’t yet been offered a contract, despite heavy speculation on various social media websites suggesting a deal is in place.
“I’ve been hearing and reading different things on the internet and twitter but nothing has happened yet,” he said. “If anything happens, Derry will be the first to know.”
The third year Sports and Business Student at Letterkenny IT said he was very impressed with the state-of-the-art training facilities the two-time European Champions have in West Bridgford.
“They have a really great set-up over there, with 5 or 6 pitches on their training ground that would be the same standard as any League of Ireland pitch. It’s just a completely different level again,” said McNamee, who travelled over to the club with his father Tony.
“I seen the trophy’s they won in the past and you realise that it is a massive club. But I have to say they were really, really nice and looked after us really well when we were over, putting us up in a hotel and providing us with whatever we needed.”
The Ramelton man, who doesn’t turn 21 until February, attracted attention following his calculated displays in the middle of the park for Derry during their 2012 League of Ireland campaign.
McNamee and McLaughlin, a former Finn Harps player who hails from Clonmany, helped the Foylesider’s win this year’s FAI Cup at the Aviva Stadium following a extra-time win over St. Pats.
It now appears the cup final was the window of opportunity the two Donegal men needed to take their careers to the next level.
“Whatever happens; happens,” said the laid-back McNamee. “I’d love to get the chance to go over and test myself but if it doesn’t happen I’ll be more than happy to focus on playing for Derry.
“I’ve been back doing a bit of work in the gym this week and I’ll continue to keep myself in good shape so that if anything does happen I’ll be in good nick for when I head over.”
Links between Derry and Forest go back to the days of Liam O’Kane and Martin O’Neill – a European Cup winner with Brian Clough’s team of 1980 – to David Campbell who played for the club in the mid-eighties.
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