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INTERVIEW: It was an easy decision for me

28 July 2016

Keeper coach Simon Tracey on his new deal with the club

Keeper coach Simon Tracey agreed to stay with United as full-time coach earlier this week when he agreed a two-year deal which keeps him at Brunton Park until the summer of 2018.

We spoke to him about it and about the task of finding a second stopper to keep current number one choice Mark Gillespie on his toes.

“It does feel like it’s been a long time coming, doesn’t it,” he agreed. “It was an easy decision as far as I’m concerned. I like Keith’s philosophy and I’m looking forward to getting on with the job now.

“We have a group of staff who work well together and we enjoy each others company. We all speak our minds and we’re definitely not ‘yes men.’ If we’re asked for an opinion we give it, and that’s the way it should be. Obviously sometimes we disagree but there’s always food for thought and it’s a good mix.

“The fact that it’s a two-year deal means we can really focus on the job we have to do. We all want success and our aim this year is to progress from where we were last year. The players we’ve brought into the building are all good signings and I feel we should be in the top seven because of that. 

“It’s easy to say we’re going to do that so the job now is to turn our aim into reality. I do congratulate Keith, Lee and Colin on the calibre of player they’ve been able to bring in. It’s a very bright group and I think we should all be looking forward to watching them.”

On keeper Mark Gillespie, now the longest serving player at the club, he said: “I feel he has come on nicely over the last twelve months. He has grown into the way the gaffer wants the team to play, and part and parcel of football as a keeper these days is the need to have the ability to deal with the ball at your feet. 

“Now it’s down to him to make the right decisions which will allow him to go and play at a higher level. His decision making is an area both we and he want to improve, and the more opportunities he gets the better he will get at making the key decisions correctly. 

“In my opinion he has every opportunity of moving up the ladder because his work ethic is excellent. When I first came to the club he was in a situation where he had to be managed because he had a problem with his knee. His working week had to be structured around that and he’ll tell you himself that it was always in the back of his mind.

“I had to think about how much I could do with him, particularly in the winter months when we were working on hard grounds. He’s put a lot of time and effort in through the back end of last season and he’s come back to me this summer in a condition where he can work at a constant rate. That’s great news for him and us because it means we can do more with him from the off.”

But he agreed that the need for another keeper to work alongside Gillespie is something the club needs to resolve sooner rather than later.

“I always feel there has to be real competition in this position,” he said. “In my opinion I need someone who is going to challenge Mark now, or someone who has the potential to challenge Mark quickly.

“The change of ruling with the transfer window means we have to make a decision and we have to get it right. We’re under no illusion that we need someone here but I want the right person to help to improve the position and keep competition levels high. That’s why I won’t rush it.

“Being honest, I think Mark is flying at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing him play. Whoever comes in will have to work very hard to take his starting shirt from him. I’m doing my best within the budget to get someone in who can try to do that. 

“We’re happy to keep looking until we know we’ve got it right, and one scenario could be for us to bring someone in on loan. Across our squad at the moment we have at least two people fighting for each position and I want the same in my position. 

“I want to see two players with real quality working each other all the way through the week and on into match day.”

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