Derry City have won the race to sign Preston North End midfielder Adam O'Reilly, strengthening their bid to land the SSE Airtricity Premier Division title this season.

O’Reilly was one of them most coveted players in the transfer window after his impressive loan spell at St Patrick’s Athletic last season.

The 21-year-old was an impressive performer for the Saints but was deemed surplus to requirements at the Championship side, paving the way for a move this month.

The Saints and Shamrock Rovers were just some of the sides chasing his signature, including offers from Football League clubs in England and Scottish sides.

However he has opted to move to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium to work under Ruaidhri Higgins as they attempt to dethrone the Hoops following their FAI Cup win and second-place league finish.

O'Reilly said: "This has definitely been the most difficult decision to make in my career so far, having had so many great clubs looking for me.

"I was really impressed with what Ruaidhri had to say. I want to play at the highest level possible and I have to challenge myself to do that.

"I’ve played against Derry last year and I know how good a side they are and the potential that exists at the club.

"There is an awful lot of quality in the squad and there will be real competition for places.

"It’s also fairly clear however that there’s a great bunch of lads at the club and it looks like a good changing room to be a part of.

"I want to push myself as a player, so this was the move for me."

Higgins described O’Reilly as one of the best players in the country.

The City boss added: "He gives us a completely different dynamic to what we have, and it was clear from our discussions that he has an unbelievable drive to maximise his potential."

"He has shown us a real steely determination and that’s the type of player we want here.

"He has scope to improve as well and we’ll look to help him to do that.

"I believe it’s a great fit for both parties and we’re really looking forward to working with Adam."

O’Reilly flew out to Alicante to link up with Derry on their pre-season training camp.

Elsewhere Cork City have bolstered their squad with the signing of Kevin Čustović on loan from Danish side Vejle.

The 22-year-old defender spent the second half of last season on loan at Örebro in his native Sweden, and joins Colin Healy's side on loan for the duration of the 2023

Čustović said: "I am very pleased to be joining Cork City and look forward to playing for the Rebel Army; I cannot wait to get started.

"I am a hard-working wing-back, I have a lot of passion for the game and I want to do well for the team. I am looking forward to playing in front of the fans and I can assure them I will fight to the end in every game for the team."

City boss Colin Healy is pleased with his latest capture: "We are very pleased to have Kevin on board. We have been doing a lot of work to identify signings who will add to the group, and we feel Kevin has the ability to do that.

"He is a versatile defensive player, he works hard and has a very good attitude. We are looking forward to welcoming him into the group and seeing him in action."