Riga gets to work on Pool rebuild

Jose Riga
Jose Riga
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Jose Riga will spend his first full day at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool manager today, tasked with a huge rebuilding job.

Since being appointed two weeks ago, Riga has been working from his homeland in Belgium, arranging his relocation to the Fylde coast.

But he finally arrived in Blackpool last night and will be based here full-time from today.

Riga’s first task will be to confirm his backroom staff after holding meetings with his chosen support team over the past week.

It’s believed the former Charlton boss will bring in two Belgian coaches and an English assistant manager as part of his brand new set-up.

In a thorough backroom shake-up, only physio Phil Horner remains from Pool’s 2013-14 staff.

Last season’s coaches Bob Malcolm and Malky Thomson have followed Barry Ferguson to Scottish club Clyde, while Tony Warner (goalkeeping coach), Steve Wales (kit man) and Adam Dixon (analyst) have also left Blackpool.

Pool have promoted Tom Breakspear from last season’s successful youth set-up to the role of first-team analyst, while Chris Hough arrived last month from Crawley to replace popular club secretary Matt Williams.

Riga also has plenty of work to do in terms of on-field personnel, with only seven players currently contracted to the club.

It’s understood the new manager has scheduled the pre-season training camp for mid-July, later than normal, allowing time for him to build his squad ahead of the overseas trip.

Riga has identified a number of potential signings he would like to talk to and has decided which of the club’s remaining out-of-contract stars he would like to keep. Of these, goalkeeper Matt Gilks has been contacted about a new deal.

However, one player who won’t be returning to Bloomfield Road is defender Craig Cathcart. The 25-year-old was set to sign for Championship rivals Watford today after talks with a number of clubs over the weekend.

Cathcart, who arrived at Bloomfield Road four years ago from Manchester United, made his intentions to leave Blackpool clear at the end of the season and so wasn’t offered a new deal at the club.

He made 117 Pool appearances and has become a Northern Ireland regular.