Jacko talks players, formations and the challenge ahead
Town assistant manager Mike Jackson believes the club is targeting the right sort of players as the club embarks on their League One campaign.
So far three new signings have walked through the Greenhous Meadow door, adding to the signing of youth team player Kaiman Anderson, and Jackson believes it’s crucial that the club target the right person, as well as the player.
“We spoke at the end of the season about the sort of players we wanted to come in,” said Jackson. “It was important that they fit in with the group that we’ve already got and we’ve done our homework on them as we usually do. They’re good additions to the squad and hopefully they’re going to strengthen it as well and give competition throughout the team.”
Recent signing Abu Agogo, who joined the club from Dagenham and Redbridge, has over 200 league appearances under his belt and his experience is just one of the benefits he brings to Shropshire.
“He’s got a lot of games under his belt and he’s still at a really good age and what comes with that is still that hunger and athleticism that comes with it and I think he’ll have a big part to play in what we do,” admits Jacko. “He’s a certain type of player. The reason we bought him in is to fit around with what we’ve already got and what we’ve already brought in and we think it just gives us that little bit more balance in the middle of the park.”
Another quality to Agogo’s game is his versatility, with the 25-year-old playing as a right back as well as his centre midfield role, something Jacko is happy to have.
“It’s good when you’ve got players that can go and fit into a couple of positions. Throughout the season you don’t know what you’re going to come up against regarding opposition or facing injury, so you can drop someone in rather than going and getting a loan which sometimes doesn’t work out. It’s a good addition for us - we like him.”
Agogo’s arrival follows that of former Ross County midfielder Martin Woods and former Rotherham and ex-Salop loanee Matt Saddler, both of whom have plenty of League One experience.
“He’s (Martin Woods) played in promotions with Doncaster,” said Jacko. “He’s a very good technical player, left-footed again so it gives us that balance and it’s another option in the middle of the park. He’s got good experience, he’s been up in Scotland and played down here, he’s a good size and a good character and hopefully another good addition to the squad.
“I’ve known Sadds (Matt Sadler) for a long time as well and the fans know about him too. He’s fitted in really well and he’ll fit into the group. He’s a good size and he can play left side centre back, left of a three, can play left back so again it gives us options. You know what you get with Sadds. He came in and spoke with Mick and myself.”
And Jacko knows Saddler’s attitude epitomises the type of player the club are targeting.
“I know him already but when Mick spoke to him you could tell straight away that the lad’s hungry. And all the lads we’ve brought in have asked us the right questions, not just us asking them and that’s been a big thing when we’ve spoke to them. What are plans for next year? What do we hope to achieve? How are we going to work with them? How do we train? When you get that back from a player you know you’re on the right track because you want them to be like that.”
Jackson also believes that lessons have been learned from their last venture into League One.
“I think after last time we went up we lost key players and that affects you because you’re trying to replace them but you’re also going up a league,” admitted Jacko.
“We’ve got players here now who have done the level when we recruited last year and one of the reasons we brought the players in was they’d done this level because that’s what we wanted to achieve, we wanted to achieve promotion – we’ve done that now.
“It’s getting them key players to fit into the group already because their a tight knit group and we want the players coming in better or if not just as good to challenge this current squad.”
And with the current signings all offering versatility in their roles, does this mean a change or rotation in the team’s formation?
“We’ve spoke about that already. Going into the season what we’re going to have to do – change of formation and shape – but we just want a good group of players like we worked with last year – good people and good characters and that’s always been our number one thing when we are trying to recruit players.”