The Town boss brings us an exclusive update on what's been happening over recent weeks.
Grimsby Town manager Russell Slade has said he’s still looking to make several new signings, with the start of pre-season training looming.
The Town squad return for their pre-season training programme on June 26 and, despite already bringing Mitch Rose, Siriki Dembele, and Sam Kelly to Blundell Park, the boss has told iFollow that there will be more additions to come.
He said: “We’re still looking to replace at centre-back – we’re still a little bit short in that area, and clearly left-back has left a bit of a void so that needs to be repaired.
“And clearly we need a striker or two because Calum Dyson has gone back (to Everton, following his loan spell at Blundell Park) and Akwasi Asante is still going to be behind, in terms of his fitness, to make the start of the season so we’ve clearly got a lot of work to be done.
“We got some business done early, but there’s still more to be done. You can get a bit done at the start, but then it becomes a bit complicated because players go away or you can’t get hold of people so you get a bit of a lull as well, and then it starts to accelerate again as we get closer to the start of pre-season.
“It’s like spinning plates really. You’ve got your targets, but it’s important that you’re spinning plates and not just relying on one because you can be left very disappointed otherwise.”
And the Mariners boss admitted that there may soon be a player departing the club.
“There’s a possibility that one could be going in the near future, who didn’t really figure too much last season anyway. Not a key player who was part of the group last season,” he said.
Slade also said he’s hopeful that the team’s pre-season regime, which will see them head to a training camp in Devon, will help improve the squad unity.
He said: “Preparations for pre-season are going well. The players are together 24/7 and I think that’s important. We’ve got two games while we’re down there, it gets us away from the training ground – it’s a different venue, so it will be a good experience for everybody.
“It will be tough for the players, and I wouldn’t want it any other way really, and I think they expect it to be a tough period. It’s not a question of trying to break people, but it’s trying to utilise those six weeks in the best possible way because you can’t claw those weeks back or find them again in the season.
“They had close-season programmes so those first two days (June 26 and 27) we’re working with the college and they’re being measured, in terms of body fat and fitness so we’ll know exactly where they’re at so we’ll know very quickly who’s done a fair amount of work during the close-season, and who hasn’t.”
The Town gaffer also emphasised the importance of Danny Collins signing a new one-year deal at the club.
He said: “I thought he was a key figure in the five games that he played for me. He’s got a great knowledge and understanding of the game, very experienced, and has played at a higher level.
“And he’s also an excellent role model for the younger players so it was important that we made that signing, and I’m pleased he’s still with us.”
And he went on to praise his two new wingers, Siriki Dembele and Sam Kelly.
“We played him (Siriki Dembele) in a game here against Barnsley, where he did particularly well. He’s still very young, huge potential, blistering pace, and a brain with it so he was definitely worth taking a punt on, and he could be quite exciting for us as the season goes on.
“Sam (Kelly) is a very versatile player – he can play on either side, number 10, and he’s even played full-back. I’m really pleased as he’s a good signing for the football club, and played most of his football at a higher level too,” he said.
The boss was also quick to point out that Mitch Rose will add something different to Town’s central midfield options.
He said: “We did a lot of work on him, watched a lot footage – me, Andy, and Wilko. It was about getting the right type – he’s athletic, he can get up and down, very strong boy and tenacious.
“He can go box-to-box, but he can also sit and be solid. He’s different to what we’ve got, and that was important.”
You can now purchase your tickets for Town’s first friendly, against Cleethorpes Town and the Grimsby Borough game at the Bradley Community Stadium from the Blundell Park ticket office.