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INTERVIEW: Competition for places

11 June 2013

Second part of our interview with Tony Caig

In the second part of our interview with keeper coach Tony Caig he talked about the need for competition for starting places between the sticks at youth and first team level, and about what he wants to see from his charges this time round.

“My planning for next season began a while ago because I think that’s the only way you can do things in this business,” he said. 

“You have to put the ground work in early and then you can reap the benefit of the sessions being smooth and professional when the time comes around to put them on. 

“The pre-season programme for the keepers is already organised and we’ve even gone as far as making sure that what I need to do will fit in with the gaffer and what his plans are. That way we should achieve a very rounded programme which we will all enjoy and gain something from.”

The key to those sessions working, of course, will be the input from the keepers – a new recruit included.

“The aim for next season is for Mark [Gillespie] to keep his progress going at the rate it has been,” he told us. “Beside that we want another keeper to come in and push him all the way. 

“That’s always important because it’s a position where the current number one choice needs to know that he has to be on the top of his game, or there will be someone breathing down his neck to take the shirt off him.”

“Going forward into next season we do definitely need two genuine number ones in competition with each other,” he said. “We’ve identified a couple of potential targets and we’ll obviously work on that to make something happen.

“Some people think there should be a clear number one, with someone to act as a backup, but we want two goalkeepers who both want to play.  

“Mark will obviously have the edge over whoever comes in because it's his place to lose now. However, that can change. We want the same situation we had last season where if a keeper comes in and plays well it will be his position. As I say, I think that’s how it should be.”

“We've got the same type of situation in the youth team with Lewis [Brass] and Danny [Eccles],” he confirmed. “They're at a very impressionable age, and I could tell them everything about technique and my experiences, but ultimately they're looking at the two first team goalkeepers because that's where they want to be.

“What we need to see from them is for Lewis to push on and progress so that we are in a position, come Christmas time, where he is in with a good chance of getting a professional contract.
“It’s different for Danny because he’s coming in as a first year and we've got high hopes for him. If we can get him out on loan, as we did with Lewis, then that’s an option we would look to explore. It's much better for him to be playing in a men's team than to be sitting and watching the youth team every week.”

“Hopefully, with all of them, they will continue to work hard and use the opportunity to show what they can do whenever they get to play. The ideal situation for the management team is to have a real headache with who to pick each week, so it’s up to the lads to put us in that position.”

Click HERE for part one of this interview.

Click HERE for part three of this interview.

United Player subscribers can see a four-part interview with Tony Caig now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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