Summer signing number six was the arrival of right-sided defender Fin Back from Forest at the back end of last week, and manager Paul Simpson confirmed that the loan market could be utilised again as he continues to seek further additions to the squad before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
“The three loans we’ve had so far (Back, Barclay and Hilton) have all been good additions and that’s what you want when you enter into an agreement like that,” he said. “For Fin, he’s had less of a pre-season than the rest of our group because he started back later with Forest.
“He came in and had one training session with the group, where we just did a bit of a walk through the shape we expected to go with against Bolton.
“I thought he got stronger as the game went on and he was just getting a little bit of cramp, but he was already coming off anyway, so that wasn’t really a problem.
“I thought he slotted in well and I really do expect him to get better. He showed his quality a couple of times with his deliveries into the box, he’s a good athlete and he’s got a bit of tenacity about him, which we might have to just rein in a little bit because in a league game he might have got a yellow card after his first two challenges.
“But I’ll take that. I’d rather have that from him than not going into a challenge. I was really pleased with him, and with everybody else, because the work rate was high, they stuck together and went about it in a good way to execute the plan that we had for them.”
And he confirmed that connections around the game are proving to be important as work goes on behind the scenes in building up a recruitment plan which, going forward, will make the process much easier than it currently is.
“It’s not just me, Greg Abbott’s got some really good contacts in the game as well,” he told us. “He’s one of them people if somebody doesn’t listen to him he’ll just keep talking and talking until eventually they do.
“Him and possibly the reputation I’ve got from working at the FA is certainly helping. We wouldn’t have got Ryan Edmondson without that.
“Edmo had an opportunity to go for more money to places, and probably higher up, but he was adamant, because of the work he’s done with me with the FA, that he wanted to come and play for me again, which I’m delighted about.
“Same with Sonny Hilton. Sonny had an outstanding season in Premier League 2 last year with Fulham, he won one of the awards with the Fulham supporters, so he’s really well respected and highly regarded.
“He wanted to come because he’s been involved with me with the under-19s before. Again, my relationship with Steve Cooper helped with Fin, and the first conversation I had with Coops, maybe four weeks ago, I said I had an interest and he said he will be coming out and I want him to go to you.
“It certainly helps and hopefully there will be even more.”
“We’ve got to be a little bit careful just bringing in loans all the time,” he added. “I want some of our players for us. If we’re going to help them have a stage to play on, I want there to be a bit of knock-on future value to us, which we have to do as a football club.
“We’re continuing to look. I’ve been really frustrated with some of the ones we’ve not been able to get over the line, but I know there’s no point letting that last for long, I’ve just got to get that out of my system, move on and look at the next ones.
“We’ve got people out on the road watching games, looking at players who we have our eye on, trying to see if there’s any others we can nick from clubs, and we’ll keep doing it until the window closes.
“Once that closes on September 1 we’ll then be able to properly get to work to have a plan in place, which we weren’t able to do for this transfer window. Hopefully we’ll have a better structured plan going into January, and then the following summer, and fingers crossed I’m still part of it in January and next summer!”
The earlier start to the season gives clubs a month to assess their squads - with possibly nine games between now and then - where more tweaks can be made, should circumstances allow.
“That’s correct, and it also gives other clubs a chance to review what they’ve got and maybe try and nick our good ones,” he warned. “That’s something we don’t want to do.
“We’re quite fortunate in the position that we’re in that we’re not desperate for money, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep our players and maybe even strengthen a bit better, with more to add of the senior type of players to bring into us.
“There’s nothing imminent at the moment, but we’ll keep working and doing all the things we need to do to get players in who we think are going to improve us. We’ll see where we are come the Crawley game and then certainly by 1 September.”