Club News

Update from Darren Sarll

Hello everyone, firstly a thanks for welcoming myself and Carl Dickinson to the Club. Our first month here has been quite busy and we feel it’s a good time to update supporters on our off-season progress so far.

Our pre-season planning has been extensive and we are yet to confirm every aspect of the programme. Pre-season training can be make or break in the first two weeks of contact with the players, so we want to get it right, we want the players to be at the most optimal point they can be after those initial two weeks.

We have a fantastic facility at Maiden Castle, in particular the fitness and conditioning suites, and we must maximise this usage to the best of our ability. Carl and I believe we are close to finalising a really productive, tough and character building first two weeks which will set the tone for standards, behaviours, work ethic and professionalism for the next 10 months.

The timing of the Euros has meant that all teams at our level have an elongated summer break, and with that we have an unusually long period for summer recruitment.

We’ve properly profiled and engaged with our targeted players who fit the way we want to play – players who we feel can add real value and improve the squad. Now we must be patient to ensure that we get the right players. Very little activity is happening across the industry as a whole at present, however that will quickly change in the coming month.

Our player profiling is very clear and concise – we are looking for a different type of athlete, a different character and one that the supporters can connect and relate to. Players that commit their souls to the pursuit of winning are hard to identify in initial meetings, but it’s a crucial attribute for what we’re trying to build.

Myself, Joe Monks and Ronnie Moore are also hoping to maximise the prowess of the area, recruiting where possible from the North East. I think it would be really special if a large number of players in the squad are tied to the region. It won’t be possible every time, but it’s definitely something we’re looking at.

I know how important this period is, which is why we can’t rush, we must be patient so we maximise the Club’s potential. Myself and Joe are in regular contact, alongside meetings and player & agent introductions, and this process will extend throughout the season.

Of course I’m also excited to work with the players that have stayed. It was really pleasing to tie down David Ferguson and Nicky Featherstone as they connect to the town more so than anyone.

I’ve met or spoke to every player now and I’ve enjoyed those early exchanges. However, the real test of everyone’s character will come in the face of fatigue and adversity, then the real characters reveal themselves.

Dan Dodds looks to be in a strong position to return. I’ve been pleased by the feedback from staff on his commitment and I’ve seen the level of effort myself that he’s putting in.

The real work starts late June and it’ll be tough. The message to the players is that they have to return in a conducive condition to work very hard, their bodies must be ready for a tough programme. I want this team to be mentally and physically resilient. Everyone must commit from day one to a level of sacrifice that will give us the best chance of fulfilling our potential.

Darren Sarll.

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