Dunleavy blow increases Cork urgency to keep Delaney
Ryan Delaney is close to agreeing a permanent deal to join Cork City and they need the centre-half after another heartbreaking injury for skipper John Dunleavy.
The popular Donegal man has been plagued by injury setbacks during his career and it's entirely possible he will miss the remainder of the season after picking up a fresh knee injury against Limerick last Friday.
Dunleavy missed the business end of last season - including the FAI Cup final win over Dundalk - due to a long-term knee problem and he had battled back to fitness to become an important player for the league leaders.
"The indications aren't good, contrary to what we thought after the match," said Cork boss John Caulfield yesterday.
"It doesn't look good. It looks like he's going to be out for quite a while.
"We're waiting on confirmation but that (being out for rest of the season) is what it looks like. It's a terrible blow for John."
That has increased the urgency to tie up a deal for Delaney, who is on loan from Burton and has struck up a decent partnership with the experienced Alan Bennett in the heart of the back four.
Recognised Delaney (20) has shone for the Leesiders and was recognised for his recent performances by scooping the SWAI/Airtricity Player of the Month award for May.
His performances for Cork have attracted interest from other cross-channel clubs but the Wexford man is enjoying regular football at Turner's Cross and Caulfield says they have made progress on working out a deal with Burton.
"It's close, we'd hope that maybe in the next few days it would sort itself out," said Caulfield who will have Delaney back from injury for Friday's date with Derry.
The player has indicated he is keen to stay on after playing his part in their charge to an 18-point lead at the top of the table.
"Hopefully in the next week, I'm sure there will be something confirmed either way," he said.
"When the two clubs agree (a fee), it will be up to me to push. But I've been enjoying myself here at the moment so hopefully we can keep it that way.
"When you are young you want to be playing and winning is a bonus. If we can keep the run going for ourselves and keep performing, that would be great."
Meanwhile, St Patrick's Athletic have taken pole position in the race to sign free agent Owen Garvan, who is ready to turn down Bray Wanderers to pen a deal with the Inchicore strugglers.