DFC | Kenny expects McEleney to stay at Dundalk FC until the end of the season
Lilywhites boss says there has been no bid for the 24-year-old
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny expects Patrick McEleney to remain at Oriel Park until the end of the season — at the very least.
There has been mounting speculation in the past week that McEleney is set to depart with Doncaster Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and Australian side, Melbourne City, all linked with a move for the 24-year-old.
However, speaking to Dundalk Sport on Tuesday evening, Kenny said that the club had received no offers for the mercurial Derryman and it was his intention to keep him at the club beyond 2017.
“We haven’t had any bids for Patrick,” said Kenny. “A lot of people are looking at him, of course, but I’d expect him to definitely be here for the rest of the season. That’s my expectation and we’d like him to be here beyond that.”
Dundalk have held talks with McEleney in a bid to tie him to a new deal but Kenny said that there was ‘nothing concrete’ to report about contract negotiations with any of his current squad.
The Lilywhites boss also explained the reasons behind his decision to let Paddy Barrett move to Waterford on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.
Barrett started 14 of Dundalk’s 24 league games this season but the emergence of Niclas Vemmelund, coupled with Kenny’s belief in Sean Hoare, opened the door for the Waterford native to move back home.
“Niclas has come in, settled down and is playing very well and Sean Hoare needs to know where he stands. He is signed for next year and I think he’s got all the attributes to be a terrific player.
“Paddy was a very good player here,” he added. “He won two leagues and we’re delighted with the contribution he made. He asked could he go on loan to Waterford and get some matches and we agreed.”
Barrett is out of contract at the end of this season but Kenny refused to close the door on a possible return to Dundalk next year.
“Anything is possible,” said Kenny. “Each party will sit down at the end of the season and review everything.”
Barrett’s departure came just 24 hours after Ciaran Kilduff’s move to NASL side, Jacksonville Armada was announced.
Kenny said the 28-year-old was ‘keen’ to make the move and opted not to stand in his way.
“Ciaran wanted to go at the start of the year. He had an opportunity but we had an option to keep him and we took that up.
“His contract is up in three months, he’s almost 29 and it’s a great opportunity for him and his family, two years to live and play in Florida.
“He always made an impact. His goal ratio was very good, his attitude was first class and he will be missed here.”