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Club News

MANAGER: We're still working away

Paul Simpson on transfers

11 July 2022

As revealed at his press conference at the end of last week, it had been a frustrating few days for the manager and his staff as they closed in on a signing, only to have it fall away along the final stretch.

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“We had an experienced centre-back myself and Greg had been working on for a week, speaking with the club, the player, but on Tuesday morning it looked like it was off,” he explained.

“On Tuesday afternoon it was back on and he wanted to come. I had a conversation with him, everything was all hunky dory and he was going to have a medical on Wednesday.

“Then we get a call from his agent to say he’d changed his mind and he’s not coming. That’s what happens.

“I don’t believe in getting excited about any deal until the paperwork’s actually signed, which was the case over the summer, because Ryan Edmondson was agreed about six weeks before he signed, Sonny Hilton was agreed but we couldn’t sign him until later on.

“I’m very nervous until they’ve got the signature on the dotted line. We’re still working at it, still working away trying to bring players in, when clubs allow them to come out.”

On the type of deal he’s contemplating, he commented: “My first thought is I want permanents, but it’s looking more and more likely we’re not going to get permanent deals done and it’s going to have to be more loans.

“But I’m comfortable with that, so we’ll see what comes. Ideally I’d like them in before we go to Scotland but who knows, we just have to keep our fingers crossed. 

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“With loans it leaves different things to consider. At no point have I ruled out bringing younger players here. I want players who have a point to prove.

“If it’s players trying to progress in their own careers, and their clubs want them to come to us – and the amount of clubs I’m speaking to who are really confident in coming because knowing me or the type of character Greg is, we’re working to try and get those players into the club.

“If it’s a young one, or an experienced one, and it makes us better, that’s what we want to do.”

And the departure of Tristan Abrahams to Eastleigh potentially leaves a gap, should the right kind of deal arise.

“That’s possible, yes, but we’re in a position where, and this isn’t a complaint, I’m working to a budget, and my priority is to make sure we’re strong enough defensively,” he told us. “I’m taking the long-term view because it would be very easy just to think about a ‘win for now’ policy.

“That’s fine, but we have to look further ahead and try to make sure things are right. It’s not just about one transfer window, I’m being optimistic and hoping I’m going to be here for a second, and over time the squad will evolve.

“Once we’ve got the defensive area sorted, we’ll look and see what’s available financially to maybe strengthen in midfield and also add another striker.

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"As it stands we’ve got players who can do the midfield area whether that be their first choice position or a secondary position. We’ve also got players who can fill the striking areas.

“I’ve been really pleased so far with what I’ve seen of the forwards. They’ve shown a desire to get into the right areas to score, linked up well with the rest of the players, worked extremely hard.

“If an opportunity comes to get a forward player who would strengthen us we’d look to do that as well.”

Rumours aside, we wondered if any other players were likely to go out the other way.

“At the moment there hasn’t been anything to tell me anyone’s going to go,” he said. “The Tristan one, it was fairly obvious he wanted to be down south, he returned for pre-season training and didn’t have anywhere to live.

“He must have thought he was going anyway. On the Sunday afternoon I got a call from Eastleigh about it to see whether it was a possibility. Then by the Tuesday it was done and dusted.

“That’s how quickly these things happen. I’m sure there were lots of conversations between the agent and club before that point, but I only found out on the Sunday.

“I was comfortable letting him go, not a problem to me. We move on, and if an opportunity comes to get one in to replace him, we’ll see.

“In regards to others leaving I don’t know anything from anywhere else that there might be an opportunity to move anybody.”

And with keeper Tomas Holy now settled, the addition of another stopper remains another option.

“We’re still looking,” he confirmed. “We’ve got Tomas in there as the number one, and then the two young boys. Again it will be dictated to by the finances.

“If I could find the right number two to come in for the right finances, I would be doing it. That’s just not an easy one, not an easy position to fill.

“If we have to start the season with Gabe as our number two I’ll be comfortable with that, and then it may open up an opportunity if anything does happen to the big fella, we’re able to bring in an emergency loan goalkeeper in.

“It’s the one area of the pitch we are protected a little bit outside the window. I know that doesn’t answer our question long-term but I do believe that will come when the right opportunity comes up.”


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