EEN A SOFT TOUCH OT NEXT SEA­SON omises a new, hard-nosed ap­proach

The Football League Paper - - BIG INTERVIEW -

and Greg (Ab­bott, Derry’s t) spoke about how to h the first day, the first week, game,” says Derry.“In do­ing ound we are very sim­i­lar in rac­ters – he was a very player and so was I. And at I wanted from the team. I gen­uine per­for­mances. ppose I just tried to judge ers re­ally. I tried to make eci­sions on who I wanted to of it. I had to know which play­ers had de­cided for them­selves that they didn’t want to help my cause.

“I don’t think we got a point for the first four games. You quickly work people out and I very, very def­i­nitely worked people out that first month.

“With the great­est re­spect, I edged away from those big­ger char­ac­ters and tried to bring in people who had an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the club. Of course, there were two or three per­for­mances that were far from what I wanted. But gen­er­ally I felt that the fans got value for money and a group of lads who gave them ev­ery­thing.”

Most of those play­ers – Hay­den Mullins, Jack Gre­al­ish, Cal­lum McGre­gor – were loa­nees and have now re­turned to their par­ent clubs. And that means Derry must now set about build­ing a squad in his own im­age.

“The best man­ager I ever played un­der was Neil Warnock,” said Derry, who will reg­is­ter as a player next sea­son ‘for emer­gen­cies’.“And the most im­por­tant thing he taught me was that you must be able to rely on the play­ers in the dress­ing room.

“Yes you need talent. But it’s just as im­por­tant to have the type of player who’ll run the dress­ing room for you.

Rigours

“With­out that, you can never be sure of what’s go­ing to come out of it. So I need to make sure above all else that the play­ers I bring here are the right type.

“New play­ers are def­i­nitely what’s needed.We need to get the most out of the budget, get play­ers who are a lot more hard-nosed to the rigours of League One foot­ball.

“Be­cause I felt that we were quite a soft touch when I came here in Novem­ber. They rolled over so eas­ily, and that can’t hap­pen. League One is a grind. It’s a fight.

“We weren’t fully equipped for that when I got here. Next year, I want to make sure we are.”

And af­ter the mir­a­cle, time to re­flect on a job well done. “I never en­vi­sioned go­ing straight from player to man­ager,” added Derry. “But I’m glad it’s hap­pened the way it has, and that’s it’s ended well.

“It’s been full-on, it’s been fran­tic, I’ve been learn­ing on the job. This has been some ed­u­ca­tion, it re­ally has. And as an achieve­ment, keep­ing this club it’s right up at the top with any­thing I did as a player.

“Now I’ll have a few days off and try and look for­ward to next sea­son…per­haps from a sun lounger!”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd/ Ac­tion Im­ages

RE­LIEF: Shaun Derry cel­e­brates as Notts County’s safety is con­firmed. In­set: Derry in ac­tion for QPR in the Pre­mier League

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