Ireland international Sean Maguire became the eighth summer signing for the Blues on Saturday morning and manager Paul Simpson spoke highly of his new acquisition following the Dundee United friendly on Saturday night.
“He’s got so much ability and so much energy about him when he plays,” he said about the 29-year-old forward. “He’s had a tough little period where he hasn’t played a lot of games, but he’s a player we’ve been talking about for weeks and weeks.
“We’ve had to be patient because at one point we couldn’t afford him, but we’ve kept nipping away and thankfully he’s in the building now. I’m looking forward to getting him working.
“He looks to be up to speed. He looks in really good physical shape. He looked sharp when he was out on the grass in this morning’s session.
“Obviously we’ll look at him when he gets in with the group on Monday, that’ll be his first bit of football with everybody else. I don’t think you play at the levels he’s played at up to at 29-years-old if you don’t do things properly. As I look at him now, I think he’s in really good shape.”
With other options on the table for the former Coventry and Preston North End forward, he explained why he had chosen the Blues over his other suitors.
“We’ve talked a lot with him, Greg has done the bulk of it,” he told us. “I’ve had two or three conversations with him, and I think my first conversation was the morning of the Workington game and we’ve been digging away at it since then.
“Thankfully he’s through the door now and, like I say, he looks in really good shape. He’s been working over in Ireland with an academy group and been doing some fitness training.
“He’s come in and done some one-to-one work on the grass this morning and he looks in really good shape. He’s sharp, lively and he’s got fantastic experience.
“For a club like us to get that type of player we do have to be patient, we’re not first in the queue because we can’t offer top money. He’s shown a desire to come here and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
“He’s going to bring experience and football nouse,” he continued. “He's got a bit of sharpness about him, which I thought we lacked that right through the team today, that zip about us in the way we played.
“I’m sure Sean will certainly add to that. He is the calibre of player I want to come in, who's going to hopefully make a difference for us in what will be a challenge of a season going up a level. I think he’ll add to us in those forward areas.
“He's got so much about him, and I remember coming up against him as a coach. He's horrible when he's on the opposition side. He's got incredible leap on him for a – I’m going to say small fella – but he’s bigger than me, so for a for a fella of his size, he gets across and he's just got an infectious type of enthusiasm.”
On whether or not he’ll be ready to start next weekend, he said: “I've got to see him for myself through next week. Whether or not he's done enough to be a starter, but I'd really want to get him involved, even if it's from the bench.
“I want to see what he's like in terms of his recovery when he's done sessions, because the big thing we have to do is make sure we keep everybody fit. We can't take chances. With these new guys in on Monday, I think we've got 23 and that'll be with a couple of young players, a few goalkeepers.
“So the numbers aren’t massive in terms of outfield players so we need to make sure we keep everybody available.”
As for other new blood to add to the mix, he told us: “We’ll have two, all being well, on Monday morning.
“The deals are agreed and it’s now a case of just getting them in the building, medicals done, and I fully expect them to be training with us after that.
“They’re two loans for us and I think they’re two really talented players. I’m sure they’ll add to the group, and also they might just give everybody a lift when they see some new faces come in, especially with the calibre they both are.
“We've had to be patient with it because these lads have been away with their own teams, Premier League, on pre-season tours, so they're coming in fit. They've both had match minutes, and I'm really pleased that we've been able to get them done.”
And with them being additions number nine and ten, will that be business concluded ahead of the start of the new campaign?
“I’ve got a good idea of where we are in terms of the budget,” he commented. “The club has been really good so far in stretching to what I wouldn’t say is a top-end budget, but it’s going to be a budget where I think we’ll have a competitive group.
“Today we didn’t show it, but I think there’s enough in here now to give ourselves a real fighting chance this year.”
With an update on trialist stopper Dan Langley, he said: “He’s left us now. He’s had a good few weeks with us, and it’s been good to have him around.
“I had a conversation with him last Thursday because now we’re getting to this point I just I felt as I needed to be honest with him.
“In fact, I spoke to him before the Newcastle game at Gateshead, because I just said look, I've got a new goalkeeper coach coming in and I’d like him to have a look at you, stay with us if you want but I'm not guaranteeing you anything, and if you have anything else to go to, then I totally respect that.
“I just didn’t feel as though he was going to push Tomas [Holy] enough. I’m looking to have a goalkeeper in here who can be a number one, and I just didn’t feel Dan was at that stage at the moment.
“He’s been a good personality to have around, he’s done everything right in training, but I just feel as though we need the next stage of a goalkeeper. We need somebody who can really threaten to be a number one.
“If I could have afforded to have another one, and Dan and Gabe, I probably would have done that, but I didn't want to go and do that at this stage because I need to prioritise the finances in other areas of the pitch.”