Cork City are closing in on a possible deal to bring Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney back to his native city, Examiner Sport understands.
The 36-year-old is out of contract at Selhurst Park and is believed to be keen to move home to Ireland. A possible one-year extension to his Palace career was mooted but Delaney made the decision last month to say farewell to South London after six years at the club.
Sources close to the player confirmed last night he was considering his options, one of which is a move to the Airtricity League Premier Division champions.
City boss John Caulfield is grooming two excellent defensive prospects in Sean McLoughlin and Conor McCarthy and may believe bringing in Delaney will help their development in the same way as Alan Bennett since the defender returned to Turner’s Cross.
Delaney will be 37 in July but was considered Premier League-ready by his ex-colleagues at Selhurst Park, with manager Roy Hodgson involving him off the bench again in the Premier League last season. He played 95 minutes in total in the Premier League in 2017/18 but received universal acclaim from Palace supporters prior to the final game of the season, a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Afterwards, Delaney tweeted: “Thanks for everything, you’ve given me more than I ever dreamed of. From the second I walked in I’ve given everything, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’ll be the happiest man in Selhurst today. Fan for life.”
Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey said: “Damien has been a fantastic servant to the club. It’s nice to have him in the dressing room. He’s good, he’s loud and he’s got a lot of experience so he’s been able to help a lot of people along the way.”
That may hold the key to City’s interest as Caulfield bids to develop a cadre of young talent . On a possible move for a new player, the City manager confirmed yesterday the club has “identified someone and that will happen shortly”.
Young striker Michael Howard leaves Leeside tomorrow, meanwhile, as his loan deal from Preston is complete.
Other City players have been linked with moves out of Turner’s Cross, including defender Tobi Adebayo Rowling and Irish U21 star Danny Kane. Caulfield said: “It’s possible one will go out, I haven’t had any offers but we’ll see what the situation is. Danny loves it down here. I expect come July, most of those boys will still be here.”
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