NEW Grimsby Town manager Russell Slade says he’s delighted to be returning to the club for a second spell in charge.
He said: “It’s nice to see some familiar faces from my first spell at the football club. It has been a really nice welcome from people and it’s good to be back.”
The gaffer, who took Town to the League Two play-off final in 2006, said returning to the Mariners was an easy decision to make and that he has unfinished business at Blundell Park.
“I had a long conversation with John Fenty, but it didn’t take too long to decide that this would be a good place to come and move the club forward again.
“When I came before, I was pretty much a rooky manager – I came from Scarborough and not too many Mariners knew about me, but we managed to get to that play-off final but unfortunately didn’t get out of the league,” he said.
But he believes his experience will be vital in helping the club progress and move forward.
He said: “It was a difficult spell for the club after I had gone, and relegation to the National League was hard to take for a lot of people, but we’re back in the League now and I think it’s important to keep that momentum going forward and I’d like to think that after nearly 800 games now, I’m well equipped to try and move the club forward.
“I’ve had a lot of experiences and I know the league above really well – spent a lot of time in that – and obviously spent a couple of seasons in the Championship last year.
“But it’s important for me now to build myself and rebuild as well because I still think I’ve got an awful lot to offer and I’ve still got that enthusiasm and that work ethic to achieve things in the game and I’m looking forward to moving this club forward now.”
Slade believes Town can be a dominant League Two outfit next season.
He said: “The first thing’s first is to assess the group we’ve got. It might be that it only needs a bit of tweaking here and there, with one or two additions, but we can be an absolute force in this league.
“I’ve seen some good things and some things that maybe we might try to tweak and improve a little bit and try to give the team an identity going forward and a structure to play off.”
But he also stressed the importance of having the remainder of the current campaign to observe the side.
“The great thing is that we’ve got five games to look. I can look at them in training and I can look at them in game situations and assess very quickly and then we can be more prepared in the pre-season ahead.
“It’s useful and beneficial for Paul Wilkinson and me to have a look at what we’ve got at our disposal as we plan for the future.
“We’ll look at that but that’ll take a little bit of time but with pre-season looming as well, we’ll have the time to do that but in the short-term let’s just build on the great result that the football club had on Saturday against Blackpool,” he said.
Slade admitted the contacts he has made in the game so far could be beneficial to him as Town boss.
He said: “Your contacts, whether it’s a manager or coach, or players, you have ideas in your head and the level at which those players could come in and perhaps set-up.”
And he was also full of praise for new assistant manager Paul Wilkinson.
“Paul’s number two so he’ll be doing a fair amount of coaching and organising, and we’ll sit down and we’ll get that streamlined as to what we’re doing as we go forward and I’m sure that it’ll be a really good relationship. I’ve known him for a long time now and it’s great that I’ve got him alongside me,” he said.
Slade will take charge of his first game this Friday as the Mariners welcome Cambridge United to Blundell Park (3pm).