It was confirmed at this week’s pre-match press conference that Monday is decision day when it comes to the retained and released list, with manager Paul Simpson now clear on what he’ll be doing with the current crop of players.
“The decisions have been made and I’m clear in my head what I want to do but I haven’t told the players yet,” he said. “I’ve got agents asking me for decisions but they won’t get them, I’ll speak to the players first and they’ll find out face to face.
“As a manager you sometimes have to make difficult decisions and that’s what I’ll do on Monday. None of them are made for personal reasons, only to try and make the football club better.
“I’ll have a chat with everybody together then I’ll see them all in squad number order. Some might be one minute, and some might be five, then we’ll go from there.
“We actually have until the third Saturday in May to let the players know, but I want to do it next week. We’ve considered everything and we want to do it right.
“My view is every pound’s a prisoner and we have to spend it really wisely, and this is all part of that.
“There are lots of things that go into the pot when you make these decisions. Hopefully I make most of the right decisions, I accept I’ll get some wrong, whether that’s with releasing, retaining or signing players.
“The law of averages says that the chances are some of them will be wrong, I’ve just got to try and make sure I get most of them right.”
Complicating matters further are the players out of contract – Taylor Charters and Manny Mampala – who have been out on half-season loans at Gateshead and Weymouth respectively.
“It’s difficult to make decisions on players I haven’t seen, all I can go off is what the other staff have said and watching videos of them,” he explained. “I’ve also listened to the reasons why they were sent out on loan, they weren’t sent out because they were playing in the first team, they were sent out because they were deemed to be surplus to it.
“Those decisions will have to be made on the back of what I’ve heard and seen. I was fortunate enough to be able to go and watch Taylor for the first time at Chorley on Monday, which was the first game which didn’t clash with ours.
“It’s been brilliant for him to be involved in a promotion team, Mike Williamson has really looked after him over there, so we’ll have a chat and see where we go from there.
“With the success they’ve had, it’s brilliant that they’ve got over the line, it shows the value of a good loan move.
“We’ve got a group of young players next season, at this moment I don’t know, who may or may not be involved in the first team.
“If they’re not it’s really important to go out. We have to keep them around in pre-season, that’s a starting point so we’ve got the right numbers here.
“If we don’t feel they’re going to be pushing the first team there’s certainly the option to go and get them out on loan.”
“One thing I’d say regarding reserve games – we’re involved in the Central League Cup,” he added. “We’re not going to run a reserve team again next season.
“There’s all sorts of issues around that and it’s not just about finance. It’s about facilities, travel that’s involved, and also centres around not disrupting the training week and making sure we have the right players for training sessions.
“People might consider that to be a bit selfish but maybe I am, that’s just the way it is. We have to make sure it’s right for the first team group.
“We’ll also try and organise bounce games where there’ll be some weeks we say you’ve got five or six lads who need a game, can you take them, mix them in with the second-year scholars and whatever, and that’s how we’ll work it.
“Hopefully players will get a decent level of football and some competitive games to keep them up to speed.”
Touching on the subject of budgets, he said: “I’m not sure I could say any real detail but I have an idea of what we’re going to have.
“It’s still what it’s going to be because there hasn’t been a massive injection of cash into the club unless it’s happened and I haven’t been told about it.
“Everybody makes a real big thing about budgets, I don’t know whether something’s changed where the budgets that get published are definites. I don’t know, because I think people tell lies on budgets, they always make out they’ve done brilliant with buttons in a purse.
“That doesn’t happen. I don’t really know where we are in terms of the league table. People tell me it’s middle to bottom half. If that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do about that, I won’t lose sleep over it.
“My job with Nigel is to spend it as wisely as we possibly can. I think we’ve got a decent chunk of money in terms of budget – not transfer fees, I’m not sure how many clubs at League Two level will pay those – but I think we’ve got a decent budget to be able to assemble a good group of players to start us on the first part of this journey, which may take a little bit longer than everybody would like it to do.
“We’ll be working on players, and when the head of recruitment starts, which hopefully will be next week, if we get that in place they’re going to come in with a list of players that they know are available.
“We’ll have our targets and we’ll try and get a group of players together, preferably as many as possible for when we get back together in June.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.