NEW Salford City manager Graham Alexander says it has been “full-on” in his first couple of weeks in charge.
The 46-year-old was appointed earlier this month, and after less than two weeks has already introduced four new faces to The Peninsula Stadium.
That is in addition to settling in and trying to plan for both pre-season and our first ever season in The Vanarama National League.
But the former Sunthorpe and Fleetwood Town boss is confident that he and assistant Chris Lucketti are making good progress early on.
“It’s been really busy, it’s been full-on trying to get to know all of the staff, look at possible targets, speaking to agents, trying to get everything in place for the new training venue we’re going into as well.
“I’ll throw myself into it, and Chris as well, but we’re getting a lot of help from the staff already here to familiarise myself with what’s going on.”
While transfer activity has not been as busy as last summer, four new signings have already arrived at The Peninsula Stadium and Alexander says he is assembling a competitive squad for a competitive level.
“We know we’ve got the fulcrum of a really good squad here who were very successful last year and we’re going up to a very competitive level.
“You always have to try and improve anyway so we’ve brought in players who we know can improve the squad that we have, but the challenge then for the players when they come back for pre-season is to compete to be in the first team.
“Every squad needs genuine competition for all of the positions, I feel we’ve got that with high quality players and players that still have a lot to give.”
One of those first signings was Nathan Pond, the former Fleetwood defender who left the Cod Army after 15 years and is no stranger to the manager.
“He’s a lad I know really well from my time at Fleetwood, I made him captain and brought him back from a loan spell,” said Alexander, who managed at Highbury from 2012-2015.
“He was fantastic for that club in general but obviously during my time he was great for me as well so I know what type of character he is, the ambition he’s still got, the motivation. I’m hoping that he reinvigorates himself here, shows what he can do, and passes on that experience of going through the levels to the other players we have here.”
Also joining from Fleetwood is goalkeeper Chris Neal, and midfielder Danny Whitehead who won The National League with Macclesfield Town in 2017-18.
“Chris Neal coming in as well, a fantastic goalkeeper who I got to know quite a long time ago when I was playing probably 15/16 years ago, but haven’t worked with him a lot since then. But I know a lot about him and he’s a vastly experienced goalkeeper who has plenty of years to go.
“Danny Whitehead had a fantastic season last year at this level, scored some important goals but his overall play, he was one of the best players at this level so we were delighted to get him on board.
“I met him a couple of weeks ago and you could see the desire burning through, every word he spoke to me about and what he wants to go on and achieve, and I think he can do that with us.”
It’s not all about experience for Alexander though and signing number four, highly-rated midfielder Kieran Glynn, will have as much chance as anyone despite being 20.
“Kieran’s one where there’s a lot of potential, he’s shown some great abilities and we feel he’s one for the future but the objective for him is to compete now, to be in the first team.
“I’ve got a track record in my previous two clubs of giving young players their debuts and giving them the opportunity to compete with more senior players and that will be the same case here.
“I never look at any lads’ birth certificate or their wage slip, or whether I brought them in or not, it’s a straight fight to get into that team and every player will get that opportunity.”
Be one of the first to see Graham’s first game in charge, our first pre-season friendly against Fleetwood Town on Friday 6th July at The Peninsula Stadium! Keep an eye on the website and social media for admission details.