Monday night’s Sunset Suite Forum brought fans up close and personal with the new manager and his staff as subjects such as tactics, recruitment and squad size came under the spotlight with the kick off to the new season now just 10 days away.
Continuing our look at some of the topics discussed, we start with the process of bringing new faces through the door following a question about the role played by former Gretna manager David Holdsworth once a new target has been identified.
“I pick all of the players,” manager John Sheridan confirmed. “Player selection is down to me. That’s how it has to be for any manager, in my opinion. I have to look at who I think will make us better and what areas I feel are the priority.
“That's my job and I always go for those I think will improve us. What I do is identify the person I’m interested in and I then pass it over to David to deal with the politics that goes with signing any player these days.
“I knew when I came in that there were only eight or nine senior players available and that the young lads were new to it all. I said then that I needed another eight or so, to make it closer to 21 in the squad.
“I'm working towards that and everyone has heard me say a few times I need four or five more. I definitely want a right-sided centre back. As we stand we’re two or three short of where you’d want to be but, if I can keep everyone fit, I think we'll be fine.”
“I’m hoping to have that defender in by the end of the week,” he continued. “It’ll be a permanent deal, if we can get it agreed, and, like I say, we want that to happen quickly if possible.
“When it comes to looking for players and getting them over the line, you'll find with me that I know ultimately it's all about winning games. You won't hear me making excuses about budget or finances. It's about keeping the good players fit.
“I knew the budget when I came and I’m working around that by offering players what I think will entice them here. I'll never be moaning about budget, I'll be working my socks off with what I've got.”
“Location can be a factor, I won’t lie to you about that,” he said. “But as a player coming to play against Carlisle United, I can tell you it’s one of those places where I remember how hard it was to play here.
“We drew 2-2 with Leeds when I was a youngster and the atmosphere was amazing. I want more of that from our fans now.
“I live in Leeds and I've found the journey to be a doddle, a lovely drive. I'll be renting somewhere as soon as I can, so that I can base here during the working week, but we have lads who travel from Manchester and the north east and they don’t have any problems either.
“For some players, they do see it as being a long way but most managers who have worked here have had that same issue. The game has changed because it used to be three-year deals and a player would relocate.
“I just don't think people want to settle anywhere now and that's why I've been looking at players in Scotland, Newcastle and elsewhere up north.
“The fact is we are where we are and I have to make it work by looking after the players to get the best out of them. When you start talking to a player you like you tell them about the good things, you persevere and eventually you get there.”
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