Dundalk FC's Michael Duffy with team-mate Patrick McEleney, who has recently returned to the club after leaving at the end of last season. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny is hopeful star winger Michael Duffy will remain with the club next season.
The Foyleside flyer has netted 12 times and provided a staggering 20 assists this season, including the winner in Friday’s crucial victory over Limerick, while he is poised to be called into the Irish international squad, possibly for the match with the North later in the year, after switching his allegiance to the Republic.
Duffy joined the Lilywhites ahead of the last campaign from Celtic, penning a two-year contract. Shamrock Rovers are believed to be strongly interested in attaining his services when his deal runs out in December, as too are former club Derry City.
However, considering his now increased profile, cross-water clubs will surely be in the market should the 24-year-old opt to depart the League of Ireland for a second time.
But Kenny feels there is a desire in Duffy to remain with the Lilywhites.
“He has a Scottish agent, he has a relationship with him and has been speaking to him,” the Dundalk boss said of the present situation.
“We’d like to keep him and he knows that. We’ve been having conversations with him in the last year and I think Michael would like to stay.”
Kenny added: “It’s only a year ago when there were a lot of questions and people thought he probably wasn’t good enough for us. People were saying ‘what does he do’ and ‘is he ready for Dundalk’, but he’s just been a breath of fresh air, coming in so laid back and he takes everything in his stride.
“He always wants to get forward. When the ball is played out to the wing, his first instinct is not to take it on his chest and come back inside, it’s actually to chest or head the pass to the player and (then) he’s on the move. For a full-back, he must be a nightmare to mark because he’s always so direct and so dynamic.”
An U21 international with the North, Duffy also confirmed that he has received contact from Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, saying that he hopes to join-up with the squad once his clearance comes through.
“I’m going to be committed to the Republic after getting a call from Martin (O’Neill) saying that he wants me to join-up for the squad when I can.
“Once I got the call, that’s all I wanted to do. I’ve wanted it since I was a young boy.”