Double up – but Billy wants more

Darren Kelly, left, and Nicky Wroe

Darren Kelly, left, and Nicky Wroe

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

BILLY McEwan could be tempted into further transfer raids after York City pulled off a coup in bringing defender Darren Kelly to KitKat Crescent.

Following a day of feverish activity in the market, which saw the centre-back spurn offers from Scottish Premier League sides to put pen to paper in a five-figure transfer deal, the Minstermen boss - who also secured young midfielder Nicky Wroe on a short-term contract - said he could bring in more new faces ahead of tomorrow's transfer window deadline.

Kelly, who has joined from Northern Irish outfit Derry City, is arguably City's biggest signature since ex-international goalkeeper Alan Fettis joined from Blackburn Rovers in 2000 for an appearance-linked £50,000.

The former Northern Ireland Under-21 international has turned out for Derry in both the Uefa Cup and the Champions League and chose City ahead of SPL sides Gretna and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The 28-year-old had been on McEwan's radar for some time with the City manager admitting he had tried to bring him to York last season. Part of his move stems from family reasons, with his girlfriend hailing from Sheriff Hutton.

And McEwan said he was delighted to finally get his man.

"Darren's an experienced player and we are delighted to welcome him on board.

"There have been a few clubs after the boy - he's got good quality and we've been tracking him for a while. We looked at him last year but we couldn't get him, but we're delighted to get him now," he said.

"It says a lot for our football club. Our chairman has done a lot of hard work on this deal. We're still looking to do business, if we can. We've got a number of players on trial, to be fair, so we are just looking at them and making decisions as we go along.

"We've been after a few more players. I could have spent more money but at the minute I think the players are overpriced and we've got to be careful - money is precious to our club.

"They've got to be the right ones and if they come along it's nice to know the club's there to back you."

Kelly made 42 appearances for Carlisle in the Football League after being signed for £100,000 but was released when the club was relegated in 2003-04. He has also turned out for Portadown and Shelbourne.

While City could not be drawn on the exact cost of the Kelly deal, The Press understands the Minstermen have paid less than the £35,000 rumoured to have been offered for the player by Inverness earlier this month.

He's been joined at York by Wroe, who has signed from Barnsley.

In his five years at Oakwell, Wroe made more than 50 first-team appearances for the Tykes, and also played five times for Bury while on loan last season.

McEwan added: "Nicky Wroe's a young player. He got released by Barnsley and we're having a look at him. We've got him on a short-term contract."

Kelly will come into contention for tonight's televised KitKat Crescent clash with Rushden and Diamonds, subject to receiving clearance, but Wroe picked up a knock playing for the reserves on Tuesday and is short of fitness.

As City look to build on their opening win of the season at Northwich by posting their first Blue Square Premier success in front of their own fans, they were boosted by the prospect of Manny Panther returning to action.

McEwan revealed the Minstermen skipper returned to light training. He will be assessed later today with another session under his belt.

But McEwan warned City were in for another tough encounter as the club mark 75 years of life at Bootham Crescent. "They will come and probably play with three across the back and five in midfield and make it difficult for us," he added.

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