The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Former Dundee United captain Paul Paton at McDiarmid Park yesterday after signing a two-year deal with St Johnstone.
MCKINNON: New boss postpones holiday to work on identifying and bringing in the right players for promotion push in the Championship
Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon is accelerating his recruitment drive as he aims to heal the scar left by relegation.
The Tangerines boss has even cancelled a holiday due to start today so he can focus fully on bringing new players in.
He is close to signing Ross County midfielder Stewart Murdoch, while progress is being made in talks with an experienced British-based goalkeeper, a loan player and a striker from abroad.
Also, there will be “four or five” trialists reporting to St Andrews on the first day of pre-season training on June 27, all of whom will have been playing in England.
McKinnon said: “We may have at least one signing later this week – we are very close.
“We have also agreed to bring a player in on loan, we are close to making an offer for a goalkeeper and there is also a foreign player I am looking at, who I know all about.
“There will also be four or five trialists from down south who I will watch for a week or so during pre-season because I have said I won’t sign anybody on the back of watching a video.
“I have been able to convince them to give us a try because the English preseason starts later than ours so coming to us doesn’t interfere with what’s happening down there.
“So they can, at the very least, get a proper week’s training in with us and see what they think.
“There are a lot of players out there but you need to do due diligence, have a look at them and get references – that all takes time.
“Everything is taking shape, though, and we are starting to get moving.
“Indeed, I was meant to be going on holiday tomorrow but I can’t go now because I’m so busy.
“I seem to only be able to switch my phone off at around 11pm.
“That’s fair enough, though, because getting things sorted here is my priority.”
The goal for McKinnon is to have a team starting life in the Championship that is thinking about the future not the past.
“We are looking to have different mentality at the club,” he added.
“The players coming in won’t have been through the relegation thing and they will have a fresh outlook.
“Everyone we bring in has to be the right type.
“They should have something to prove, have experience or be young and fit the criteria.
“Changes need to be made right through the club, from the youth level to the first team.
“It will benefit us to have the squad reshaped.
“We can probably have a turnover of 15-16 players and I think that will be a good thing for United in the long run.
“When you get relegated there is a scar left there.
“People have had a losing mentality all season and you certainly don’t want to take that into the Championship.”
One man who has now left United is former captain Paul Paton, who joined St Johnstone yesterday on a two-year deal.
That will release funds for McKinnon, who said: “Good luck to Paul and I wish him all the best.
“His leaving has freed up some money and, from his point of view, he had someone else interested so I can understand why he wants to stay in the Premiership.
“It is a move that seems to suit everyone.”