Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll poised to sign Brendan Moloney on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest
HEAD coach Sean O'Driscoll has revealed how he paved the way for Bristol City to sign Nottingham Forest defender Brendan Moloney – three months ago.
Championship strugglers City were today hoping to land the 24-year-old right-back on a free transfer, even though his Forest contract is not due to expire until the summer.
Ironically, it was O'Driscoll who offered Moloney a get-out clause when he was in charge at Forest earlier this season.
And it is that same clause that now makes it possible for the Robins to bring the Irishman to Ashton Gate without paying a fee.
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O'Driscoll, who was controversially sacked by Forest last month, promised Moloney he could leave the City Ground on a free transfer, provided he could find another club.
New Forest boss Alex McLeish is prepared to honour that arrangement and Moloney should be a City player in time to make his debut in tomorrow's npower Championship showdown against Ipswich Town at Ashton Gate.
O'Driscoll told The Post: "Brendan has been at a club where he has not had enough games, because they have always had the ability to buy someone more expensive.
"If they sign someone who is more expensive, they usually play ahead of you.
"That happened this season. He started the season with me and I then had the opportunity to bring in someone else and Brendan was left out.
"I told him then that, if he could find another club, we would release him from his contract and make him available on a free."
A versatile defender, Moloney can play anywhere across the back line and satisfies City's criteria for signing young players at an affordable price.
O'Driscoll said: "He can play right-back, left-back and centre half and, at 24, is the right age. He has played a lot of games in the Championship and has never let me down.
"Financially, he fits in with what the club want to do in the future and he is reliable and solid as a character."
Meanwhile, City have pulled out of a deal to sign Crawley Town defender Kyle McFadzean.
Although a fee and contract had already been agreed, City head coach Sean O'Driscoll had doubts over the 25-year-old's fitness.
Out of action since November after contracting a serious viral infection, McFadzean was making a slower-than-expected recovery and there was a risk he might not be fit to play until much later in the season.
That was enough to persuade O'Driscoll to pull out of the deal and he is now likely to seek central defensive reinforcements in the loan market when the window re-opens next month.
But he told The Post he is still interested in bringing McFadzean to Ashton Gate and a deal could yet be done in the summer.
O'Driscoll said: "I feel it is important to end the speculation. The medical people have collected all the data and talked and it is not certain that Kyle will play against this season.
"The short-term is probably a little bit more important than the long-term for us and, although I'm still interested in Kyle, it is more likely to be something we do in the close season."
Mark Wilson will stay with City until the end of the season after exercising a clause in the contract he agreed with former Robins boss Derek McInnes.
But O'Driscoll has still not decided whether to offer central defender Matthew Bates a new contract.
O'Driscoll said: "Mark Wilson had a clause in the contract that he originally signed allowing for it to be extended. He is still training with us and will be here until the end of the season."
City's head coach has still been unable to run his eye over former Middlesbrough defender Bates, who has been laid low by illness since his short-term contract expired earlier this month.
O'Driscoll said: "Matthew has had gastroenteritis and been in bed all week, so has not trained.
"We've kept him away from the rest of the players and will have to have a look at him next week.
"To be fair to Matthew, he has agreed to stay down here and come in for training next week so we can have a proper look at him and make an accurate assessment."