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Higgins thrilled to add Graydon to Derry City squad ahead of European meeting with Riga

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins  

DERRY City received a boost ahead of Thursday’s Europa Conference League tie with the news that winger Ryan Graydon has joined the club from Longford Town.

 The 23-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal and will go straight into the City squad for Thursday’s first leg against Riga FC. Manager Ruaidhrí Higgins is delighted to secure his first new addition of the summer transfer window. “Ryan is a player that we like and we have liked for a while to be honest,” said Higgins.

 “He’s the style of player that we felt would add to the group and I’m really excited to get working with him. He had good options, so we’re delighted that we managed to get it over the line. “He’s only 23 and with the full-time environment we feel we can elevate his game further.”

Graydon played for Bray Wanderers last term alongside current City duo Brian Maher and Brandon Kavanagh before making a switch to Longford, and Higgins says knowing that pair will help him settle into life on Foyleside a lot quicker.

 “It will be good for him to get settled in,” said the Derry boss.

“The players here will look after him and help him settle in both on and off the pitch.” Higgins is hopeful all the paperwork will be in place so Graydon can make his debut at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, on Thursday night.

“It was also attractive that he’s fit and he’s playing in the middle of the season, he’s playing extremely well and in his last few games he has been brilliant,” he said.

“It’s great that he doesn’t have to do a mini pre-season or anything like that, he’s just straight in and he’s ready to hit the ground running.

“We’re hoping he’s available for Thursday night, but we have to wait and see how that goes.” Graydon, who has played in the top flight before with Bohemians, is delighted to make the switch. “It’s nice to have interest in you, but when a big club like Derry came in, it wasn’t a hard decision for me and especially with Europe coming around the corner,” he said.

“It was always my ambition to play in Europe and for Derry and Ruaidhrí to get in contact and offer me a deal, it was a no-brainer really.

“It’s always nice to come into a new club and knowing some familiar faces, as that obviously helps you settle in quicker, but having been in and around the club on Sunday, all the rest of the lads couldn’t have welcomed me any better.”

The Candystripes will head into their European adventure with momentum after making it backto-back Premier Division wins by seeing off Bohs 3-2 at Dalymount Park on Friday night. Joe Thomson put the visitors 1-0 ahead at the break. Matty Smith restored their lead 37 seconds after Ali Coote equalised for Bohs in the second half.

Will Patching’s deflected free-kick gave the Candystripes a two-goal cushion and they held on after Dawson Devoy pulled one back with five minutes to go. “I’m delighted – given who we didn’t have available to us it’s a massive result,” said Higgins.

“How we saw out the final five to 10 minutes was extremely pleasing, how determined and how much fight the players had.

“They embraced it and stuck out their chests to be counted. Our last two wins have been based on character and fight.”

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