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The Candystripes manager revealed that the former Finn Harps winger was being watched by several British clubs but refused to comment further

Derry City manager Declan Devine has confirmed that 'a number of clubs' are monitoring the progress of his player Stephen McLaughlin after reports suggested that the left-winger was set to leave the Brandywell.

However, the Brandywell boss refused to identify the teams in question, preferring to wait until a transfer was imminent before commenting further.

"We are aware that Stephen had been watched by a number of clubs and while some of those clubs have identified themselves, none have come forward attempting to open discussions with us in relation to a possible transfer," Devine told the Derry Journal.

"We have had quite a few clubs from England and Scotland watching our players throughout last season. We’re used to that and we welcome that, but until a club comes in and makes an offer or, indeed, simply opens negotiations I don’t think it’s right to comment any further."

McLaughlin scored 17 goals for the Foylesiders last season and the Candystripes manager admitted that he does not like to lose players of such calibre, but says that he simply has to move on if a player wishes to progress to a higher level.

He said: "From a managerial point of view, I’d much prefer not to lose quality players from our squad, but as the club has taken the view that the development of local youth is now paramount, we have to move on and continue attracting youth players who have the potential to play at the top level."

Meanwhile Devine has revealed that he has made an offer to full back Simon Madden to remain at the Brandywell, but said that the Dubliner is mulling over a number of options.

"We had a good chat and Simon openly declared how much he enjoyed playing for the club and, indeed, living in Derry but it was clear that a move closer to home appealed to him," Devine said.

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