Gaffer on strengthening squad during the window
Shrews boss Micky Mellon is hopeful of strengthening his squad this January, with the possibility of new faces coming in before Saturday’s game at Chesterfield.
Micky has admitted that talks have already taken place in regards to extending attacker Larnell Cole’s loan from Championship side Fulham, although a change in manager at The Cottage may be a cause for concern
“Larnell is fit and available for selection for Saturday and this is Larney’s last game he’s available for loan,” said Micky.
“We are in discussions with him and Fulham to try and extend that but it’s a wee bit up there at the minute because there’s a new manager just gone into Fulham so we will try and get some news on that as quickly as we can because he’s certainly a player that I’d love to keep.
“I spoke to him this morning (Thursday) and he’s really enjoying his football and he enjoys being involved in and racking up games so if the opportunity comes up he’s told me this morning that he’d like to stay.
“Maybe they’ll be a few new faces in, we’re certainly trying. We don’t just all of a sudden say ‘the transfer window is open let start working’. This has been going on for months now so hopefully we will be able to close in on a few things. Be patient and watch this space.”
With the transfer window opening today, Micky admits that he and his staff have already been eyeing up recruits for the past few months and believes it is important to get ‘fresh faces’ through the doors.
“When the window opens it always gives you the opportunity to try and improve the group. Like everybody else, we’ll work to try and do that but that’s the problem; ‘like everyone else’.
“It’s not just us who’s going to be involved in that but we have targets that we would like to bring in, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s other things that have got to happen in order for that to happen but we’re working hard to try and make something happen.
“I would expect so (to see changes) because we’d all have to agree that the group has to keep improving. We could probably do with a few new faces like every other club at this time of the season.
“So we’ll try and do that and I would be surprised if we’re not able to try and bring some new faces in.
“We’re planning all the time for recruitment, we’re looking all the time.
“We’re well on the front foot with what we believe we need to try and get in to try and improve us but of course there’s other bits of housekeeping that we have to do here in respect to players who want to play first-team football. If I can’t give them that here then we have to try and organise that with them as well. It’s a busy and hectic month.
“We want to continue to try and build a team and continue to make them competitive. We’ve still got a lot of issues that we need to sort out here but we’re moving in the right direction.”
With Town sitting in 17th place in League One following the last-minute Boxing Day win at Crewe, Micky feels that going into the New Year, he is realistic about Town’s current position.
He said: “I would say I’m realistic. I came into this division knowing that it was a huge step up and I knew that I was bringing a lot of players forward with me from League Two.
“A lot of them had to come into this division and find their way. I also lost a lot of good players as we know and I didn’t know that before the transfer window closed that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to improve it until January.
“The word to describe where I am at the minute is optimistic and excited that we’ve got to this stage now and we know a lot more certainly about the whole group.
“Anyone who watches us week in week out will be able to tell you that we have leaned an awful lot about people who have played at this level for the first time or playing at it again, that we’ve brought forward. And they were the ones we brought in like (Ian) Black, (Anthony) Gerrard, Zak (Whitbread), (Larnell) Cole, (Sullay) Kaikai. We certainly know the level of player that we need to bring into the building.
And with the increasingly important roles being played by defensive duo Anthony Gerrard and Zak Whitbread, both of whom are on short-term deals, the manager feels it is important that the club try to keep hold of them, but warned the budget in place should not be broken.
“I’d like to keep both of them, nothing’s changed there. Both are available for this Saturday so I’m delighted about that,” added Micky.
“As I’ve said before I think what’s important is for everybody to know is that there is a budget here at the football club that I think is realistic, I really do. The Chairman is very, very good at making sure that there’s going to be a football club here for a long time to come. If I had all the funds I’d blow the whole lot of them so it’s important that somebody keeps reign on that.
“There’s many, many players that I’d love to bring here but we have to be realistic and the wage demands that these players command… we are Shrewsbury and we are where we are in the food chain. It’s important that everybody is realistic about that.
“I’ve got to go and find your Kaikai’s, Cole’s, Whitbread’s, Black, Dom Smith into the group. You’ve seen (Shaun) Whalley come into the group. These are the areas we’ve got to shop in. I’m realistic about that and sometimes they’re hits, and other times they don’t work out.
“But it’s all done under a strong leadership from the Chairman above who will make sure that this football club will be run soundly and securely and realistically according to the size of the attendances and the revenue that we bring in and I agree with that.
“In order for me to bring in players we would have to move a few out and that’s what it is at the moment.
“We’re spinning many, many plates at the minute here so we’re taking it day by day.
With on-loan trio Mark Ellis, Mickey Demetriou and James Caton all set to return to the Greenhous Meadow after the weekend’s fixtures, Micky confirmed that as of today (Thursday) none of their respective loan clubs have spoken about extending their loans.
“Maybe Carlisle would like to extend Mark’s loan but I don’t know what Mark’s thoughts are on that and I’ve not been asked the question to finalise it,” added Micky.
“It’s never just a case of picking up the phone and saying yes. It’s case of pleasing the player, his missus, the agent, the manager at the other ends chairman, our chairman, my chief exec. You have to be patient.”