EEN A SOFT TOUCH OT NEXT SEASON omises a new, hard-nosed approach
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.
“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!”
RELIEF: Shaun Derry celebrates as Notts County’s safety is confirmed. Inset: Derry in action for QPR in the Premier League