JANUARY SIGNINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AMSWER
IT WILL be a quiet transfer deadline day at Stevenage this year. Our budget is spent and we have to try to move players out to keep our books balanced, not in to fuel our campaign. Because we fell short of round three in the FA Cup this year, our finances aren’t as strong as we would like and our ability in the transfer market is nil.
Elsewhere, the transfer deadline keeps clubs very busy. It can feel like the last chance to turn round their fortunes. As we prepared for our game against Oxford yesterday, the newsreel just kept turning. Tracking the team that we might be playing against changed every day. First it was Joe Skarz in from Rotherham. Then his ex-team mate Richard Brindley. And then an on/off saga involving Tyrone Barnett.
I signed Tim Sills in January to lift us to the Conference title. I signed Craig Reid in January help lift us to promotion from League 2. The right work in January can certainly pay dividends.
The big BUT is that there are not necessarily great deals to be done in January in the lower leagues. It is often players who are out of contract in June who are available. They are looking for long term deals. So making January signings can often be much more expensive than making summer signings when free agent players are in a much more pressed position; the next month their income stops!
If your club doesn’t make signings, don’t give up hope. It can be a sign that the manager is confident in his squad. That he has seen green shoots of progress.
Back at the end of November, we decided to increase our training workloads and we managed to win 16 points in seven games and move to the top of the six game form league. It wasn’t about changing our players over. It was about changing their mentality and their footballing and physical prowess.
The final three months of the season are where prizes are won and lost. Continuity can be as big a weapon as any in getting the job done.