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INTERVIEW: 'We have some really good players in the building' says Coley

Reds boss not panicking about lack of signings as he looks ahead to pre-season opener

7 July 2023


INTERVIEW: 'We have some really good players in the building' says Coley

Reds boss not panicking about lack of signings as he looks ahead to pre-season opener

7 July 2023

John Coleman is hoping signings are imminent but he isn’t panicking with the League Two season starting in a month’s time.

The Reds boss hasn’t yet added anyone to his squad although captain Seamus Conneely has signed a new contract.

Jay Rich-Baghuelou and Joe Pritchard are hopefully back from long-term injuries for the new campaign while Harvey Rodgers, Mo Sangare, Mitch Clark and Alhagi Touray Sisay have moved on.

"Not signing anyone is just a consequence of what happened last year," said the Reds boss.

"I am responsible for the squad we assembled last year and unfortunately we are over the budget that is set for this year so the only way around it is to let players move on and whatever the residue is, try and sign players with that.

"We have the facility to bring one or two in now, some have left, but the big thing is we have got to get the loans right his year.

"We had some good loans last year who unfortunately got injured and the lads who came in did their best but we have got to try and get lads who can hit the ground running.

"We have to try and make the most of the loan market because of the financial situation that we are in and then we always tend to unearth a diamond and we have got to hope we do again this year."

Coleman admits it is unusual having not signed anyone at this time.

"This is the first time in 26 years of management that I have never signed a player two weeks into pre-season training but that’s just the way the situation has unfolded.

"One of the strengths you have to have being a manager and trying to lead the squad, is you have to roll with the punches, ride the rough terrain as well and this is the situation which has arisen and you have got to deal with it.

"We have to try and get things lined up. We have four or five triallists in who have done quite well and hopefully we will have some joy out of that.

"The big worry is that historically we lose some of our better players a week before the season kicks off so you are trying to plan with them but in the back of the mind thinking you might not have them so it’s something you have to guard against."

Coleman admitted that, despite no new additions, he still feels his squad is strong enough to mount a successful challenge in League Two.

"Joe Pritchard probably won’t be ready for the start of the season but hopefully Jay Rich will be. They are big players but we have some other big players in the squad.

"People may think we are a spent force but we still have really good players in the building.

"We have to get them out onto the pitch and hopefully be a little bit more injury free than last season and take it onto a new challenge that we are all relishing."

Coleman knows League Two will be a hard league, especially with Wrexham and Notts County being promoted from the National League.

"Last year in League Two there was probably about six or seven teams who dwarfed everyone. Now there are probably about 12 who feel like they can spend enough money to have a tilt at promotion.

"We will be in the lower reaches of that with the wage bill we have so we have to hope that we can get a tune out of the players we have got here.

"It mustn’t be forgotten that, when we won League two, we had the second lowest budget in the league so it’s not impossible. It’s difficult but not impossible."

He says there is no hangover from being relegated last season.

"Unfortunately some teams have to go down. The fact we escaped so long in League One with the big hitters who are in there, and at one stage were threatening to go the other way but for a run of injuries, that’s been an achievement in its own right.

"We were disappointed to be relegated but it can motivate you to want to do better this year."

The Reds kick off their pre-season campaign at home to Championship side Blackburn Rovers tomorrow with two 60 minute games at the Wham Stadium.

"We had a very successful game against them last year in the fact that it went really well with the two one-hour games, getting a lot of football into a lot of players.

"I saw their manager at the League Meeting the other day and he is looking forward to the game."

The full interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!

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