Despite being relegated to English football’s fourth tier, Stephen Kenny feels it’s unlikely that Oldham Athletic will release Patrick McEleney from his contract without commanding a fee.
McEleney was at Oriel Park on Friday night to watch Dundalk’s 4–0 win over Limerick with LMFM reporting on Saturday afternoon that Kenny had met the 25-year-old to discuss the possibility of a return to Dundalk.
However, with two years left on his contract at Boundary Park, Oldham are believed to have slapped a valuation of £60k on the Derryman’s head and Kenny said that was a significant obstacle to any possible return.
“There’s nothing to say on it really. Patrick has two years left on his contract at Oldham and I don’t think they will just let him go for nothing,” he told Dundalk Sport. “We have some good players in those positions anyway and it’s not something we’re looking at at this moment in time.”
After two seasons at Dundalk, McEleney moved to Oldham back in January but things haven’t gone according to plan. Registration and injury problems meant he featured just nine times, starting four games and playing a full 90 minutes on just one occasion, as Oldham were relegated to League Two on the final day of the season.
Off the field, things have also gone from bad to worse. Manager Richie Wellens, who brought McEleney to the club, was sacked on Friday after just eight months in charge.
Stories of unpaid wages have been rife with the Daily Mail reporting that as recently as last Monday, none of the players or staff had received their latest pay cheques and there are more pressing concerns, such as a bill to Revenue, that are casting a huge shadow over the club.
McEleney has been training with Derry City in recent weeks and his home town club are keen to keep him at The Brandywell. The Candy Stripes made him an offer before he left Dundalk and that contract is believed to be still on the table. Shamrock Rovers are also interested although it remains to be seen if both clubs would be willing to shell out on a transfer fee.
Dundalk are well stocked with options in McEleney’s position. Jamie McGrath has been impressive in the number 10 role vacated by the former Derry City star while Ronan Murray and Krisztian Adorjan have also been deployed there.
Adorjan’s loan deal from Italian Serie B outfit Novara runs until July 31st and Kenny said that a decision on his future was something that was ‘being discussed’.
The Lilywhites boss was also tightlipped on more speculation linking UCD striker Georgie Kelly with a switch to Oriel Park in the coming weeks. “We like him and we tried to get him at the start of the season but he’s a UCD player and I can’t comment on it,” said Kenny.
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