Manager on Ipswich and new recruits
Mark McGhee is still hopeful of bringing in a few new faces before the league season starts this weekend.
The manager believes he needs three more players to get his squad ready for the season, and hopes to have one or two of them signed up before Saturday’s league opener against Oxford.
The side is currently without centre half Garry Kenneth, who is suffering with an injury, and after Rogvi Baldvinsson’s decision to return to Norway, Rovers are looking thin on the ground at the back.
But Mark believes it is important not to panic, and remain focussed on the long term picture.
He said: “Rogvi and I sat down on Saturday night as he had been concerning me a bit. We had not finalised the situation so we had a good chat and mutually agreed that this wasn’t the right time for him.
“He is a good player with a lot of attributes, and I think he will eventually go to a lot higher level than he is playing at at the moment.
“Losing Garry Kenneth is a big disappointment, I would have loved to be going in at this stage with Garry Kenneth and Adam Virgo as a partnership.
“Everyone else is fit and getting fitter. One or two need a bit more as they have missed little bits here and there.
“We are still hoping to recruit, we have still got, I think, three players to bring in, and that might even be before Saturday.
“We have got to work to do to improve the squad to a level we want to start the season at. We are still talking to another club about centre halves, and that is an ongoing situation.
“I said at the end of last season that this will all rumble on until the window closes because clubs hold it, agents hold it up and players hold it up.
“I would love to have it all sorted on the 5th July when we come back for pre season, but it just doesn’t work like that. We have to be patient and be determined to get the right quality of player that we think we need.
“We need to look at the long term picture and not panic, we will get another centre half in sooner rather than later. We will be working really hard to get another face or two in for Saturday.”
Mark was happy with many of the aspects seen in Saturday’s pre season game against Coventry.
He said: “I was happy with lots of aspects of it. The purpose of these games is you see things you need to fix, but you also see things that encourage you, so there was a bit of both. There are things to work on, but there were some decent passages in the game that we will take positive from.
“The boys have come back in great condition and have worked really hard in pre season training. We have made progress in terms of fitness and understanding what we expect from them.
“I have not been able to put my full side out yet, but I am confident we are doing the best we can. We have got to be determined to enjoy ourselves, work as hard as we possibly can and not worry about where it is going to take us.
“We have good players, and I think we have the chance of becoming a good team, and I think you have to be excited.”
And it will be an unusual start to the season, with the campaign kicking off with a Capital One Cup clash on a Tuesday night.
He said: “It is very unusual to start the season on a Tuesday night, but I do not think it is a bad thing, I think it is a very exciting game for us.
“Ipswich is always great place to go to, the playing surface is always fantastic and we know the sort of team they will put out, so we are well prepared. It is a game we are up for and have looked at as the focus of our pre season programme.
“We will do everything we possibly can to make progress in the competition, but if we don’t then we will live with that. We are playing a Championship side away from home, and we certainly won’t be favourites. If we come away with a result it will be a tremendous achievement.
“We then have an important game at home against Oxford on Saturday, and that would be the one I would choose to win. But we might win them both.”
And Rovers are also making some progress between the sticks, with Mark hoping to bring Dave Beasant in as a goalkeeping coach, while former Nottingham Forrest keeper Paul Smith is currently training with the side.
He said: “Dave Beasant is working with our goalkeepers again this morning, and we are hoping to persuade him to come in on a part time basis, a couple of mornings a week.
“We have Paul Smith here who I wanted to bring in at the end of last week but he was still suffering a little bit with an injury.
“But he will train with Dave today and hopefully he will play tomorrow night with the hope he will join us on a long term basis.”