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Transfer Market - Boss Won't Be Rushing Into Things

Town boss Russell Slade is looking to strengthen his squad - but he says that he won't be rushing into things.

11 January 2018

Michael White
Russell Slade

Freeview | Today At Cheapside

12 January 2018

Town boss Russell Slade is looking to strengthen his squad  - but he says that he won't be rushing into things.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Newport County to BlundellPark, he said: "There’s two that have gone already. It was quite heavily loaded when I came here, it’s now much less than what it was. We were a good 30-something, and really it needs to be a 20-something, in terms of squad members. A squad of about 24 is ideal.

“Have a little bit more quality if necessary, which is what we need, then that’s probably the way I’d like to go.”

“There are one or two more possibilities that we’re trying to pursue. Whether we get them now or in the summer remains to be seen, because, with one or two that we’re chasing, it might be easier to do it that way, but things change on a daily basis in that market.

“I’m still looking at striking options, that’s still on my agenda.”

On the loan signing of DerbyCounty striker Charles Vernam

He said: “It wasn’t so long ago that Charles (Vernam) was the top goalscorer at under-23 level in Europe. He came to Coventry as a young player, he’s still only 21, but unfortunately he picked up an injury – popped his shoulder after about 10 days.

“He’d started a game, he’d been sub as well a couple of times, so he’d had a few appearances, so he didn’t really get going there because of that injury.

“But I kept track on him, he’s a very clever player, finds little pockets, he’s technically sound, and he’s got a good shot as well with both feet.

“That’s his job, to score. Can he transfer that to first-team level, and I’m sure he can – I’m confident that he can.

“It is a big step, but sooner or later you’ve got to make that leap, and it could be the making of him.”

The Town boss is hoping that his side can improve in front of goal, ahead of that Sky Bet League Two clash with County.

Town are winless in six, having scored just once during that period of time, and Slade hopes his men can improve in the final third this weekend.

Speaking on iFollow Mariners, he said: “Our problems have been in front of the goal in the final third, because when we’ve dominated parts of the game, we’ve been unable to unlock at that end of the pitch, so that’s something that we need to work on tirelessly, so we can get some momentum.

“We just need that break in front of goal. Our record in those six games in front of goal is poor, and that’s what we’ve got to try and do something about as quickly as we can.

“Results have been not what any of us desired or wanted, and it’s hurt us. But, in terms of performance, we’ve been in a couple of those games, even though we’ve not started well at Crewe, for example, we were on top for much of the second-half, without finding a way through.”

On Town’s current form

Slade said: “We haven’t (won in six) and it is really frustrating, particularly the last three games. We came out of a very busy Christmas period against the top teams, with a lot of credit in many ways without getting the results.

“But the last three have been really frustrating – we need a response to that. We’ve got a good group, by and large, here that are capable of responding.

“I didn’t get over-excited when we won three on the bounce, we’ve lost three on the bounce now, and we’re capable of changing it around.”

On Saturday’s clash with County

“They’ll be coming here very happy, very confident," he said. They do the basics well, they’re organised in what they do, and they’ll be a difficult nut to crack because they’re a physical side.

“Big, physical side, threats going forward, and they’ve scored a lot goals from set plays – they’ve scored 24 from 46 goals, so that gives you an indication of how physical they are.

“But it’s what we do – an awful lot of it on Saturday is how we perform.

“You take Luton out of the equation, and there’s not a lot between the teams in the whole of the league, it’s a really fine line.

“Everybody’s capable of beating each other, and it’s an opportunity to go and get three points.”

On Wednesday’s statement from the board, backing boss Russell Slade and assistant manager Paul Wilkinson

Slade continued: “It’s pleasing because all too often these days, whether it’s owners or it’s fans, we don’t want to build a football club often enough.

“But when you look at the examples of where managers have been given time to build football clubs, you very often find there’s success.

“Luton have had four or five windows with their manager, they’ve got a substantial budget for this league and they’re now reaping the benefits.

“So those clubs that have been prepared to build over recent years, they’ve got their rewards. And I think I’m more of a builder than what I am a quick fix.” 

On the departures of midfielder Jamey Osborne and winger Tom Bolarinwa to National League sides Solihull Moors and Sutton United, respectively.

“Jamey wanted to leave, he wanted to be back home where he was 10 minutes away from his local football club," Slade said.

“And as much as we wanted him to stay here, if his heart’s not here and if the travelling was too much then as a footballer, you have to make sacrifices and if you’re not prepared to make them then maybe that’s the right decision he’s made.

“Tom was pretty much an impact player here. He could come off the bench and was very strong at times, but again he wanted to be in the south for personal reasons.

“And he’s been in-and-out of the Sutton side – he’s not nailed down a regular spot over recent weeks, so maybe that was the best decision for him to start again really.”

Winger Siriki Dembele is a doubt for Saturday’s game, after picking up a slight back injury in last weekend’s defeat to Morecambe.

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