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INTERVIEW: You have to be as proactive and reactive as you can be

18 May 2016

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes on finding the right type of player

In the second part of our interview with head of recruitment Lee Dykes we talked about what will be his busiest period as the task of rebuilding the squad takes on a serious note.

“I do sometimes laugh because people are saying they hope I enjoy my time off,” he said. “There’s no time off for me, unfortunately, but I do enjoy the job I have.

“I enjoy meeting players and I’ve already met a few, even though the season has just ended. It’s about getting the right characters in and it’s about getting players who want to come and play for Carlisle United.

“If they don’t really want to be here, or if they’re just here to earn a bit more money, it won’t work. That isn’t what we’re about any more. We changed that mentality as soon as we walked into the building.”

“It was actually one of the first things Keith Curle and I spoke about,” he continued. “We’re not going to pay players to come to this club any more. If we don’t get a sense that they really want to be here then they can go and earn their money somewhere else.

“That means the first part of the job is to identify the players who do want to play for Carlisle. People say it isn’t the best place for attracting individuals, because of where it is geographically but, again, we’ll sell the club in the right way so that location doesn’t even factor as an issue.

“What I’ve found is that the right kind of player will play anywhere if he finds that it’s a club that matches his needs on and off the pitch. That’s who we are trying to recruit and we’re very confident that we’ll be bringing some good new faces here to Brunton Park in the coming weeks.”

The first team manager has mentioned on a number of occasions this season that a comprehensive dossier has been put together to cover players of all ages, positions and abilities to help with the recruitment process, particularly when the hunt for a specific kind of player gathers pace. 

“This recruitment period started on 6 October 2014,” Dykes explained. “Some people will laugh at that, but it’s a fact. 

“I spoke to Keith in depth, at that point, on what we needed from our first January transfer window with the club. We took the opportunity to look ahead to the summer and we started to look at which players we wanted to bring in, because that’s how forward thinking we are.

“Looking back to the last January window, there was a lot made of the fact we didn’t sign different players but, in all honesty, we had a list of almost 40 players who we would have been happy to bring into the club. 

“All 40 of them were worth their salt, so getting them here was always going to be a task. We didn’t manage to get there with the players we did speak to but, if they’re available, there’ll be some of them we’ll be going for again this summer.”

“It is frustrating when you don’t get a player you’ve been talking to, but it rarely happens with me because I’m fairly good at telling them what they need to hear!” he joked. “Seriously though, it’s made easier when it happens because that’s when you find out they don’t really want to play for you.

“When it comes to the summer months, like this, the flip side is that it’s excellent when you get the first one over the line. We had the end of season awards ceremony after the last game against Notts County and, when I looked round the room, I could see that a fair amount of the players were brought here by me. 

“That gives you a certain sense of pride from a personal point of view. Having said that, there’ll be no true feelings of pride until we achieve real success at this club. That means I have to find better players than those who have already had time with us.

“We always knew that would be the case because we had to find the stepping stones to get us away from where we were. You can’t expect to bring 23 new faces in and change things overnight. It just doesn’t work out like that.

“You’ll see clubs who have fallen, and who will fall again, because they’ve tried to do that. You have to use and develop what’s in the squad, and then add to it so that the group improves as a whole. We’ll look again to improve our end league position next season because that’s the correct way to do things.”

“It goes without saying we would all love to have our squad finalised very quickly but I don’t think you can put dates on it,” he concluded. “We’re already well in advance of where we need to be in terms of highlighting the players we want, because I do like to have that done early.

“The type of player we’re looking to recruit has, in some cases, still been involved in football matches up to date, and that’s why you have to be as proactive and reactive as you can be, so you can get it all done as and when everybody is ready.”

Click HERE for part one of this interview.

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