Coleman returns as McClean looks set to stay at West Brom
Transfer deadline day proves a quiet one for Irish players
Séamus Coleman celebrates with Theo Walcott after he scored his second goal in the Premier Division game against Leicester City at Goodison Park. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Séamus Coleman’s return to the Everton starting line-up might have been the more celebrated but James McClean’s presence from the outset of West Brom’s game against Manchester City somehow seemed more significant on transfer deadline day with Alan Pardew’s selection providing early evening evidence that the club was indeed intent on holding on to the Irish winger.
Derby County had sought to take the 28-year-old – first on loan, then on a permanent basis – but West Brom had made it clear that they did not want to sell unless it was worth their while. And faced with the prospect of a Premier League price tag, the Championship outfit appear to have quietly opted to look elsewhere.
McClean’s failure to move may have prompted mixed feelings for Martin O’Neill who would doubtless like to see him playing more regularly, although ideally in the Premier League. The Derryman gave no obvious hint of being unsettled in recent days, though, and seems prepared to stay at the Hawthorns to fight for his place.
Anthony Stokes was being linked with a couple of lower English league clubs while talk of a possible move to Poland persisted. Falkirk fans were maintaining the social media equivalent of a candlelight vigil in the hope that the man who first alerted the wider world to the potential he would ultimately fail to fulfil during a brief loan spell to the club, might return in the wake of his release by Hibernian.
Neil Lennon had brought him back to that club in the summer but a broken curfew while on a team trip to Portugal is reported to have been the final straw for a manager who had previously persisted with the Dubliner, and just six months into a two-year deal his contract was ended by mutual consent on Tuesday.
Oldham boss Richie Wellens was rather more positive on Wednesday about Eoin Doyle as he welcomed the striker back to Boundary Park. The former Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers striker, who had a spell at Hibernian himself, became the third Irish player to leave Preston on loan in the past week as he returned to the club where he scored 14 goals in 21 appearances during the first half of the season.
He had gone back to Preston injured and won’t play again for at least another month but Wellens was clearly delighted to have secured his services again and made no secret of the fact that he would like to keep the Irishman beyond the summer.
“Myself and Eoin get on really well,” he said, “and I think it’s probably been the best period in his career when he was here. It would cost us a lot of money to sign him permanently because he’s a top player, but I’d love it if we could do that.”
Fulham signed Ireland full back Cyrus Christie from Middlesbrough on a deal until 2021 with an option on a further year, while other late deals included goalkeeper Stephen Henderson joining Portsmouth on loan from Nottingham Forest and striker Rhys Murphy switching from Forest Green to Gillingham.
Ipswich confirmed the signing of under-19 international Barry Cotter, who plays at right back or as a central defender, from Limerick for an undisclosed fee.
“I can’t wait to get going now,” said the 19-year-old who joins recent recruit Aaron Drinan at the club. “It’s a big step up for me.”
Cotter is the second player in scarcely 24 hours to leave Limerick for the Championship with Chiedozie Ogbene having completed his move to Brentford on Tuesday.