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DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL: We'll see how it unfolds over the next few days

David Holdsworth on the transfer window

18 January 2021

The back end of last week brought a sense that the Blues were hovering around the edges of some more January transfer window dealings, but the Covid-19 lockdown situation threw a spanner in the works as attention was rightly focused on the health, well-being and safety of everybody at the club.

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Speaking about the current recruitment strategy this afternoon, director of football David Holdsworth said: “The situation we’ve faced recently has put a slight dent in things because the safety of our staff became paramount.

“As soon as we knew we needed to self-isolate, that's what we did. That means we can't meet face-to-face or make introductions in person, even socially distanced, but it's only right that we do things properly.

“Obviously we still have phones and Zoom calls, which is why plates are spinning, but we will always work within guidelines when the situation dictates."

“We’ll see how that unfolds over the next few days,” he continues. “Like I say, as a club we have to continue to do things properly, within the rules and guidelines, so there’s things we can’t do as we would want to today.

“Whether that’s the same tomorrow, we’ll see, but there are two or three irons in the fire and I hope to be able to support Chris in his thinking going forward. Given the opportunity we want to bring players into the club who will reinforce what we’re doing and support the current squad going forward.”

The way the current squad has gelled so quickly has been a huge factor in the success enjoyed by the team through the first 21 fixtures, and he confirmed that it has come from having a joined up approach to recruitment.

“It’s about being organised,” he confirmed. “The most important thing is we sat down, prior to this virus appearing, in January, when the window was still open.

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“Then, into the latter part of last season, we worked extremely hard on identifying individuals who fell into our bracket, our pay structure, age group, profile of height, pace, all the characteristics we needed for each individual position.

“That work we put in in January and February into March has really come to fruition and paid dividends. Things are good, but I want to support Chris a bit further.

“We always said there’d be a bump in the road, and we didn’t know whether it would take the suspension off the wheels or it would just be a stone on the windscreen.

“I think Chris needs a little bit more, he didn’t want any more, doesn’t need any more in his own mind if we live in a perfect world, but when you look to the games coming up, I think it’s really appropriate to support the manager even further.

“I’ve got a couple of plates spinning and they might come to fruition in the next 72 hours. We’ll see, we’ll do our best, I’m doing everything I can to give him those numbers. This club is overachieving in terms of where we are in the league, but not on what we expect, because we like winning.”

Finances within the football world have been a subject of much discussion, from the moment the first lockdown was imposed, and he admitted that things were tight, but that there was still work that could be done with five months of the campaign still to play.

“I’m doing everything I can to sustain what I’ve got, not really get rid of anybody unless it’s a necessity of they won’t progress with us, and I’m trying to support the manager whilst we have a budget that’s taken up,” he explained.

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"I’m trying to give Chris more support and I will do so accordingly, and hopefully given the opportunity I will support him even further with some more players. It’s extremely difficult at the moment for the manager, staff and his players, and if I can give him more support I will.

“I can’t and certainly don’t want to bring in a project for Chris, and expect a project to be able to go into the squad and then start. There’s one player out there right now that’s capable of being that project, but we also want to be able to use him.

“We hope to keep JJ, I spoke to Rotherham, Chris has spoken to Rotherham, Rotherham have said the right words, JJ wants to stay.

“I think it’s important I back him up a bit further, I want to, we’re all enjoying it, although it’s really tough, and after having three games where we’ve had two ridiculous postponements – I’m not blaming Harrogate Town, blame the weather man – we need to come out as healthy as we can, we need to give Chris a big pat on the back where we are so far.

“Him and his staff have been very good, organised, wanting to win, the supporters are backing up the club, the club are backing up the supporters, it’s healthy and if I can back him up a bit more, I will.”

As for the potential of players heading out the door, he said: “I think you’ve seen in the last few weeks, given what this virus can do and decimate somebody’s squad in the space of minutes and hours, I don’t really want to lose anybody.

“But if Chris feels it’s the right thing or a bid comes in for a player and the opportunity comes around, and the player won’t be playing who’s on the periphery and who wants to play - right now we’ve got 20-odd players, we’re delighted with that, it’s supporting the manager in the responsibilities of building the strongest team we can.

“I want to reassure supporters it certainly won’t be easy for people to take our players, and I want to keep this squad together. I’m doing everything I can, I don’t want to dismantle Chris’s squad in any way, that’s happened at this club many times.

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“I will do everything I can to not have any breakages and give Chris all the ammunition he can going forward. You never know what’s around the corner but it’s in my control to do everything I can. We’ve got a stable squad, and a squad at the moment that’s doing so well.#

“If I can give Chris some more support I’ll gladly do so because it will give him the benefit of having numbers when we hit some of the bumps in the road.

“We have had one where Max Hunt has gone out. He’s enjoying his football, he’s playing football and that’s what we wanted. If that materialises to something else, then we’ll see. You can never know in football.

“After the calls I’ve had prior to Christmas about some of our players, there is a possibility, but we’re under no pressure whatsoever, and enjoying that we’ve got this squad together and that it’s maximising everything.

“And there’s more to come. I haven’t got a crystal ball, but you never know because football’s in a strange old world.”

And concluding on the good feeling around the club at the moment, he told us: “I’m the same as anybody involved at this club, we can’t thank the fans enough and we do feel there’s a really good community spirit.

“The manager and his players have really tried to bring people closer, because for a long time I know that people have felt a bit of disassociation. It feels like that has been addressed and we thank them for the part they’ve played in that.

“Having 2,000 fans come through the door proved what the club meant to our fans and we hope to see as many as possible back with us one day soon, and hopefully they’ll be watching more results go our way.”


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