With recruitment very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, manager Steven Pressley confirmed this week that he is more than willing to tap into the huge playing resource north of the border should the opportunity arise.
“I have contacts north and south of the border which will hopefully come in useful,” he said. “The current staff have also got very strong contacts, especially in England.
“I’ve obviously got my own contacts here, but north of the border is certainly an area that this club can exploit to greater effect, in my opinion. It’s a market that I think you get very good value for money in.
“Our current club captain, although he’s local to this area, played a big part of his career up in Scotland, so you can see the types of players who are playing there just by looking at the qualities he has. He’s been excellent for this club.
“With so many players in some very good teams it has to be a market we can delve into. You can get very good value for money for your players. I played with Lee Miller, who was here and he did very well, and I know the fans really took to him.
“There are players up there who can have an impact here, so it’s up to us to identify them and then try to bring them down here.”
On getting the best out of the current group, he told us: “I was never a great player, but I was a captain at a number of clubs and I understand the workings of a dressing room.
“I think I’ve said this before, but something I’ve always taken into my management is that whenever I’m planning training, or anything like that, I always think back to when I was a player.
“I look at whether it will be a session I would enjoy. Ultimately you have to get the players out of their beds in a morning and make sure they’re looking forward to training. The way you treat players is really important to me because I understand how it was as a player.”
“Looking at the club, the stadium, the players, the supporters and the potential, this really is a great place to be,” he said. “My experience in management so far has pretty much been about developing young players and creating sustainable football clubs or, with the last two jobs I had, staving off the threat of relegation.
“There are numerous factors why any manager would want to be here and one of the biggest things is that it’s a club with good potential.”
But has the length of the initial contract caused any concern?
“My aim is to be here longer than my current contract, but we all understand the industry we work in now,” he commented. “As I said, this time last year I went to Pafos and signed a similar length of contract.
“It’s the nature of the industry, you have to get results and you have to get them quickly. That’s why the definition of success for me here would be that we gain promotion. Let’s be honest, I could have signed a ten-year deal and been here for five months, so the length of contract is irrelevant, and it was never an issue for me.
“The most important thing was coming to a club that I had a good feeling about, and I certainly have a good feeling about this. A six-month deal holds no fears for myself. I’m more than satisfied with it.
“I have real belief in my work and I know that if we’re successful the contract situation takes care of itself. Hopefully come the end of it all we’ll have achieved promotion back to League One, which is what everybody wants.”
Speaking more about the trust he has in his own ability, he told us: “I know I’m still a relatively young manager, but I’ve had over eight years of experience both north and south of the border, and abroad.
“The vast majority of players at Pafos were foreign, and that in itself shaped me. In my final games there we were working with players of 11 different nationalities, some of which didn’t speak English, so it was brilliant in terms of experience.
“I feel you’re getting a much more rounded manager because of that. A lot is made of success and failure in football, but your apprenticeship is also important in this industry, in my opinion.
“Sometimes in life, and in many jobs, you don’t do the appropriate apprenticeships, but I think I’ve had an excellent apprenticeship as someone at the age of 45 in this game. That’s why I come here very confident in what I can do, and I feel very honoured to be working here.
“Like I say, I take a very open-minded approach. I know what I want, but if you go into a club and the personnel don’t suit the style or system you want to play, you have to adapt. My thought process here is to continue with the way we’ve already been working because the players clearly respond to it.”
And as for the link between the academy and the first team going forward, he told us: “When young players have been developed and coached properly, they don’t often let you down.
“Having come through the ranks at a football club they have that club in their blood and they tend to connect with the supporters. I trust young players and that’s only come through the circumstance of having to use them at my first managerial job.
“They bring an extra energy and, whilst my focus has to be on the first team in the short-term, if I do stay at this club I hope a firm progression is something we can start to establish.”
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