As United’s pre-season continues to pass by in a blur of back-to-back training sessions boss John Sheridan confirmed this week that he is working hard, behind the scenes, to add more faces to his squad.
“It’s where a lot of my focus is at the moment,” he told us. “I’ve spoken to a couple of clubs and I have a few players in mind. Position-wise I’m after a right-sided centre half, a keeper, another midfield player and a striker.
“I feel as though I need to fill those areas because we’re four or five short from what we’ve got at the moment. I don’t really include the young players in the number, but hopefully one or two of them will pop out and also give me a problem.
“Ideally we’ll get four or five more established players to be in and around the squad.”
“To be fair, there’s a good bit of experience with what we’ve got now,” he continued. “The likes of Liddle, Grainger, Parkes and Miller at the back are very experienced, with a lot of games under their belts.
“Then we have players like Jamie Devitt and Mike Jones, with the same level of knowledge, as you go further up the park.
“I’d possibly like us to be more energetic in some areas, so that we have a bit more pace and tempo about us, but in some cases you can’t beat experience.”
With a proven track record in the loan market through his time as a manager, he also confirmed that this is an area of interest as we head towards the start of the campaign.
“The loan market will be massively important,” he commented. “In that market, if you’re after a player and you know he’s going to play, then you tend to be able to do things.
“At previous clubs I’ve had people who have helped us out and, without blowing my own trumpet, I’ve always done well inside the loan market.
“Three or four of the players I’m after are going to be loans, so I’m hoping they can come out and we can do those deals. That’ll be clubs helping us out, and we’re helping them out by getting the lads playing regular football.”
One obvious link is with centre forward Ashley Nadesan, who bagged four goals in 15 appearances in a successful half-season loan spell with the Blues last term.
“Being honest, I don’t tend to name names because if I say I’m interested another club probably ends up being interested as well,” he told us. “I’m not trying to be clever about things there. Once I get a deal over the lune I’ll talk about it, but I prefer to get to that stage first.
“With Ashley, I know Paul Murray really likes him. He had him at Fleetwood, but he was obviously already up here on loan when I got there. He did well here, he’s a striker and he might be someone I do get interested in.
“The important thing is that I bring the right player in who is hopefully going to get us some goals. There’s loads of players out there who are available, and some of them think they’re better than what they are.
“That’s why some of them are going to come unstuck because they’ll probably end up going lower and lower.”
“As a player, I would have had a club by now,” he insisted. “I wouldn’t be waiting around to see if I could get a little bit more, or whatever.
“I’d want to know where I was going and what I was doing in pre-season. With where the game is now, players get advice from people and it’s their prerogative on whether they listen to it or not.
“The good thing if you do take a loan player is that they’re at their clubs and going through pre-season themselves. That means they come in at the same fitness level and they don’t need to catch up on anything.
“It’s definitely an avenue for us to explore.”
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