A shock move for a former Grimsby Town loan star is gathering pace, as Mariners’ boss Michael Jolley looks to assemble his squad for the 2019/20 season.
As first reported by BBC Radio Humberside’s David Burns, the Mariners have expressed an interest in their former loan winger Jamie Devitt, who twice turned out at Blundell Park in 2010 and 2013.
The 28-year-old was one of the standout performers for Carlisle United last season, netting 12 times in 38 outings for the Cumbrians.
Devitt first came to the attention of Mariners’ fans during his youth days at Hull City, regularly turning out against Town’s youth and reserve sides.
After loan spells at Shrewsbury and Darlington, the Republic of Ireland under-21 international joined the Mariners on loan in February 2010.
Devitt starred in Neil Woods’ struggling side, scoring five times in 15 league outings, but couldn’t save the Mariners from relegation to the Conference.After breaking into the Tigers’ first team during 2010/11, Devitt then enjoyed further loan spells at Accrington, Rotherham United and Bradford City, before re-joining the Mariners in January 2013.
Jamie scored twice in 15 league outings for the Mariners, as well as in an FA Trophy victory as Welling; Town eventually missing out in both the FA Trophy Final and the Conference play-offs.
He returned to the KCOM Stadium after the Tigers had just won promotion back to the top-flight under Steve Bruce in 2012/13, only see to his eight-year association with the Club come to an end after Bruce opted to release the winger.
His departure sparked speculation he might re-join the Mariners on a permanent basis only to enjoy a successful trial with Chesterfield, which led to him signing a six-month contract. Chesterfield would go on to finish the season as League Two champions but Devitt featured in only seven league games and at the end of the season was one of a number of players released by the club.
During his time with Chesterfield, he enjoyed a successful loan spell with Morecambe, scoring two goals in 14 games, which led to him joining the Shrimps on permanently in May 2014.
It was at Morecambe that wide man finally found his first settled home in English football at senior level. He established himself as a regular in the side at the Globe Arena under Jim Bentley – making 98 appearances and scoring 12 goals – and claimed the Supporters’ Player of the Year, the Players’ Player of the Year and the Visitor Player of the Year Awards after an impressive 2015/16 campaign.
And his impressive form led to a move to current club Carlisle United on a two-year deal in the summer of 2016, which was extended until the end of the 2018/19 season after an appearance-based clause was triggered.
After failing to find the back of the net in 43 games in his first season with the Cumbrians, Devitt excelled last term with 11 goals and four assists in 49 appearances in all competitions – form which saw him claim six awards at Carlisle’s Player of the Year awards night, including the Player and Players’ Player of the Year gongs.
His impressive contribution saw him linked with a move to Phil Brown’s Swindon Town in the close season, but he remained at Brunton Park and shone for United last term.
Former Carlisle favourite Chris Lumsdon has urged the club to do what they can to convince their influential midfielder to stay at Brunton Park, although United boss Steven Pressley seems to be resigned to losing Devitt.
The Scot told the News and Star that the club have offered the former Hull man a new deal at Brunton Park, and that ‘is all they can do’ to convince the player to remain at Carlisle.
Reports in Scotland suggested it was a straight race between Edinburgh giants Hibernian and Hearts for the player’s signature, before the interest from Hull and the Mariners became apparent.
It is also understood that a number of League One clubs, including Fleetwood and Southend, are interested in signing Devitt.
But despite being the lowest-ranked side out of those courting the Irishman, the Mariners have suddenly become the front-runner for two key reasons.
A guarantee of first-team football for a player who will be 29 next month, and location; only the Tigers can also offer Devitt a home he is familiar with.
Again the stumbling block for Town will be financial. Any deal for Devitt will see the player become currently the highest-paid player at Blundell Park, although it is believed the Mariners will be able to at least compete with the offer that is on the table from Carlisle.