SIGNINGS MUST BE RIGHT FOR UNITED
New manager Jason Whitmore insists Ashford United is not a sinking ship as he bids to add experience to his young squad and climb away from danger in Bostik South.
Brought in as caretaker following Danny Lye’s resignation in August, Whitmore now has the job on a permanent basis and wants players to come to the club for what he feels are the right reasons.
The 43-year-old will put his trust in some of the teenagers he knows so well from working in Ashford’s youth system and wants no egos or mercenaries in his new-look squad.
Speaking before Tuesday’s 1- 0 home win over Ramsgate – United’s first of the season – Whitmore said: “I’m the one with my name at the top but it’s a group effort. We want to build a team. We’re not going to panic and buy older heads.
“We want to build a team that will get us up the league this year but next year, when they grow, we’ll be even stronger.
“We’re looking to filter in quality youth with experience, good young lads. We want to bring a real professionalism to the club and take away what I call mercenary football – people who are there for the money.
“I know non-league is like that but if you get a lot more youth involved and get them enjoying their football, you can control it rather than letting them control you.
“We want to make these players into a winning team, which isn’t done overnight.
“We just now need another couple of additions, which are going to be key pieces of our jigsaw as long as they fit in and aren’t egotistical.
“I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, we’re a team and you play as one. We’ll work hard, go in the trenches together and fight for each other.
“That’s what I think we’ve lacked, the off-the-ball work. It’s easy when you’re winning but when you’re not, how do you react? That’s been the key focus for us.”
Ashford have already used more than 40 players this season but Whitmore believes things are settling down with the likes of Tyrell Richardson-Brown and Ben Davisson having rejected rival offers to stay with the club.
He said: “There always seems to be some kind of drama at the moment but things are steady now.
“All footballers are ambitious. They don’t want to stay on a sinking ship but we’ve proved to them this is not a sinking ship.
“You’ve got to get them to believe in you. They’ve had success under a different manager, the club’s done well to get promoted and you’re then left with not even half a team.
“I know they are buying into my philosophy because of the conversations we’ve had.
“We’ve invested in the Playertek equipment which will help get their fitness levels to where we want them to be.
“There’s a £ 3,500 investment from us for the players and that shows we mean business.”
Ashford go to Hythe on Saturday before hosting Greenwich in the Velocity Trophy on Monday.