Oyston and Riga hold Pool crisis talks

Jose Riga at Blackpool's Squires Gate training ground
Jose Riga at Blackpool's Squires Gate training ground
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Karl Oyston has held crisis talks with Blackpool manager Jose Riga in an attempt to finally end their transfer stalemate.

The pair met amid growing frustration at Bloomfield Road, where only eight players are under contract and the Championship opener at Nottingham Forest is just 24 days away.

The lack of new signings follows a disagreement between chairman Oyston and Riga over transfer policy which came to a head yesterday, and it remains unclear whether a compromise was reached.

Pool’s pre-season training camp in Spain was cancelled yesterday, with the weekend’s friendly against Penrith FC also in major doubt.

But Oyston hit back at claims of discord at the club. He told The Gazette: “I’d say there is frustration rather than unrest.

“For a variety of reasons we are finding it difficult to land some of the players we are chasing, particularly the overseas targets.

“Unfortunately, our recruitment has a backdrop of us not having many players, so there is more focus on us than would normally be the case.

“But we had a chat and are determined to do everything we can to resolve this situation.

“Every day we are contacting clubs and players, and we will continue until we manage to bring the players Jose wants to the club.”

One of the concerns highlighted by Riga is the state of the club’s training facilities, and Oyston accompanied him around the Squires Gate base yesterday afternoon.

And although Oyston again played down the importance of the training ground to player recruitment, he pledged that action will be taken.

He added: “The pitches are looking fantastic but we had a walk around to identify alterations we are now going to make to freshen things up.

“Hopefully we won’t be using those facilities for much longer, but we are going to try to improve them for the time we are using them.

“I don’t think facilities come into it when we are in talks with potential signings.

“The manager we have, with his reputation, outweighs the state of our training ground.”

Since Riga’s arrival over five weeks ago, Pool have completed only one new signing (Sergei Zenjov) and struck a deal to keep Tony McMahon at Bloomfield Road.