Over the coming days we'll be bringing a transcript of the topics discussed at this month's director press conference.
The panel consisted of Nigel Clibbens [NC], David Holdsworth [DH] and Jim Mitchell [JM].
In part one of our coverage the topic up for discussion is the January transfer window.
What’s the situation with January approaching?
DH – the key to answering that question is that we need to maintain a strong squad. We’re aware that Ashley Nadesan is going back, and we’ve known that for five or six weeks now, so doing our homework has been important. We’ve done that in terms of having identified options and hopefully having a plan B. With loan players, if a player does well then generally he gets recalled. That’s the nature of football. It’s something we will obviously need to replace if it does happen.
Could we have taken Ashley for the season, as we did with Regan Slater?
DH – in all honesty, we couldn’t, because of the funds. We had to be very practical in terms of managing the funds available to us. We did the best we could with what was available then, and we always knew it was going to be a very small squad that required that kind of practical approach. I feel we recruited extremely well in the summer given the circumstances. Would we like to keep Ashley – yes, of course we would, but that might not be the case because he isn’t our player.
Have you had a clear answer now from Fleetwood on Ashley Nadesan?
DH – at the moment he’s definitely gone because I’ve had correspondence with Fleetwood behind the scenes that indicates that will be the case. They’re in a position that because the lads done fairly well for us, other teams have identified that. You never say never in football but if there is a club out there that’s going to pay a lump sum for Ashley then obviously we’ll wish the boy well. He knows he has a place here, the fans like him, we like him, and certainly we’ll be waiting to see what Fleetwood do. There’ll always be fans who want you to go and buy a player or bring in a big hitter. We’re not in that place, but what we’ll do is use our money well and keep making sure that this club is not at risk.
NC – we have the flexibility to maintain the momentum we have now. We have to be realistic about it and when players go we have to replace them with the best we possibly can. We have more expertise in the club than this time last year to do that. It’s these small changes that all add up in the end. You go from a position where you have a contingency to start off with, everybody is on the same page and everybody has bought into the same ideas. You have a bit more expertise about how you’re going to go about doing things on the club side, and that helps to get better decisions. Hopefully that will also help us to recruit better players and carry the momentum forward.
For CUOSC, is it a concern for the fans you speak to that the season will be written off if you don’t find somebody who can put the ball in the back of the net consistently?
JM – yes, I think people are concerned about replacing a decent striker with someone as good, preferably better. As a fans’ group we supported the club moving into a situation where we’re not chasing promotion with money we haven’t got, or with money that needs to be borrowed to cover expensive bonus schemes. You have to live with the reality of all of that, but there is a fair chance that there’s still the flexibility to find a couple of decent strikers. Some of the players who have come into the club, like Sowerby and Slater, haven’t cost very much but they are great additions to the squad.
What about the other short-term loans, how close are we to some good news on those?
DH – we’re very close and we’re very positive. I’m in touch with the clubs and, given that the players are enjoying themselves and being treated correctly and professionally at this football club, we want to continue that by keeping them here. The boys are aware that we would like to keep them. We can’t say too much right now because the parent clubs still hold the aces and the window is still shut. We’ll give the news to the supporters from day one and we’ll make sure they understand where we are. We’re doing everything we can to make sure we’ve got a strong squad going into the new year. Sowerby isn’t up until the end of January, so there’s no rush on that one, and we do want to keep him. We’re respectful of the fact that we’re in the hands of the loan club so we do have other options should those players not come to fruition for us.
Will we be at the back of the queue in January because of the club’s financial position? Will it be unlikely that we’ll be getting players in right at the start of the window?
DH – we don’t want too big a squad, so if they all stay we don’t want to be in a position where we’re overspending. We need to be considerate in the way we do progress, but I’m of the opinion that I’d like to get the business done as quickly as possible. That will show the supporters that we’re on the ball in terms of activity, but we will also be making sure we aren’t getting ripped off and we aren’t being played by other clubs. That’s where our experience and intelligence comes into it.
David, you’ve had a look at the club with fresh eyes, YYK talked about a magic hand in the club who was a barrier to investment. Is that something you’ve seen evidence of?
DH – We’ve managed the books since I’ve been here, and I’m not looking for blame for anything that’s gone on in the past, but we’re now looking to run it prudently. I’ve had to make decisions regarding players and budgets and I’m changing things gently. We’ve brought players in who are at the right levels for our costs. We want to continue being careful going forward, but we’re also determined to bring the right quality to this club. We’ll continue to be careful in our recruitment so the only way we will get success is by doing our homework. We aren’t going to throw silly money at players, that won’t happen while I’m here, so if you’re going to have supporters who believe in you it means you need to do your homework. As I say, this year so far we’ve managed the books extremely well. We want to make sure the club is prudent and professionally run and we’ll work hard to achieve that.
Is there a possibility of anybody leaving in the transfer window?
DH – that could happen, and I won’t say it won’t happen. That’s the same as any club when you have players who are out of contract in the summer. We’re actually in a healthy position, but we have to make sure we have one eye on the next season and the next season. There might be one or two boys in the club who think they need to look after their family and they don’t want to travel all this way. I respect that, and I understand it, so I can virtually guarantee that one or two issues could crop up. Having said that, all of the boys are under contract and I have to make sure we keep our sights on continuity, which I want, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m very open minded because we want to keep improving, and if there’s a deal that needs to be done then we’ll do it. We’re not silly, we want to keep our best players and if it means me sitting down with them then that’s what I’ll do. Every player here has to earn their contract and the days of two and three-year contracts have gone at this club. They won’t be coming back. The days of putting this club at risk are over. If players perform, they strengthen their own hand, and I’m more than alright with that.
Are any of the January targets close?
DH – I’d say there’s two we’ve identified who will benefit the team and the squad. It’s all about being prepared, but we’ll wait and see knowing we’re ready to act when we need to.
Part two of this press conference coverage will be on the official website on Friday morning.