DARYL Murphy is set to continue his playing career in Ireland after the expiry of his Bolton Wanderers contract.

The former Sunderland, Newcastle United and Ipswich Town front man was top scorer at Bolton last season on eight goals but will not be offered an extended deal at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Murphy, 37, is reported to have been offered a contract with his hometown club of Waterford, which will allow him to return to his wife and children, who had returned to Ireland a few years ago.

After scoring 30 goals in three-and-a-half seasons with Waterford as a youngster, Murphy carved out a long 15-year playing career in England – either side of a successful spell at Celtic – and played 26 times for Wanderers last season.

Waterford are run by former player, Lee Power, who is also the chairman at Swindon Town.

The club was mid-table when the League of Ireland fixtures were suspended in March but are three points off third place and have designs on qualifying for Europe in the second half of this season.

The Blues are also on the lookout for a new manager after Alan Renyolds moved to Dundalk.

Meanwhile, Jason Lowe has been strongly linked with a move to Blackpool after his deal ran out at Bolton last month.

The versatile midfielder could slot into the spot vacated by another former Bolton captain, Jay Spearing, who was released at Bloomfield Road a week ago.

The Seasiders’ current assistant boss David Dunn played with Lowe at Blackburn Rovers – which may explain the strong speculation – but he is expected to take up the manager’s job at Barrow this week alongside former Bury assistant Rob Kelly.

Spearing’s availability has also prompted talk that he could return to Bolton, although The Bolton News understands that although there is interest, a deal is unlikely at this stage.

Phil Parkinson wants the midfielder at Sunderland, who would be able to offer better terms and League One football.