David Jeffrey will now turn his attention to winning trophies after the closing transfer of the transfer window last night brought an end to his wheeling and dealing — at least for now.
The Linfield manager completed a late deal to bring Northern Ireland under-21 international Matthew Doherty to Windsor Park, while recouping the £10,000 he paid Cliftonville for Conor Downey in January 2007 as the player returned to Solitude just before last night’s deadline passed.
After recruiting Paul Munster before the weekend, Jeffrey made attempts to sign Kevin McHugh from Derry City and Ballymena United’s Kevin Kelbie, but was thwarted in both deals.
Munster’s clearance came through in time yesterday to allow him to make his debut in this evening’s Windsor Park meeting with St Patrick’s Athletic, but he may have to settle for a place on the bench, with Glenn Ferguson and Michael Carvill in hot form, having hit five goals between them in Friday night’s demolition of Institute.
“We have our business done for the time being, the transfer window dictates that,” said Jeffrey.
“We will continue to look at what is available in terms of free-agents and professionals who are out of contract and see what comes up.
“If we don’t get anything out of that then at least I am happy with what I have got.”
Twenty-one-year-old Doherty will have to wait at least a week before making his bow though as his registration wasn’t processed before the deadline to face St Pat’s in what is a crunch clash.
The Dubliners crushed Linfield in the earlier meeting of the sides back in April as the Blues turned in a disappointing performance, but with two wins in their opening matches, Jeffrey’s men still lead the way in Group Two and victory tonight would put them within touching distance of a place in the semi-finals.
The Blues will have to do without the services of full-back Steven Douglas and midfielder Michael Gault.
The pair must serve suspensions after picking up a second yellow card of the tournament in that Richmond Park meeting with tonight’s opponents, while John Martin is cup-tied after playing for Cliftonville earlier in the competition.
Stuart Addis will feature in goal for his debut in the competition as Alan Mannus is on international duty ahead of Northern Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifier in Slovakia this Saturday.
On the Downey transfer, Jeffrey said: “In the last few days Conor re-initiated contact with Cliftonville asking them if they were still interested in signing him.
“I was contacted by Eddie Patterson yesterday and have discussed this issue with the Linfield Management Committee at their scheduled meeting this evening. The Management Committee have agreed Conor’s transfer request subject to satisfactory transfer terms.
“It has never been our policy to keep players here who do not want to be here.
“We wish Conor all the best in the future and thank him for his services to Linfield.”
l Portadown have signed Fermanagh GAA star Ryan McCluskey from Dungannon Swifts.