Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley planning to strengthen for promotion challenge
Andy Pilley has promised there will be no corners cut as he looks to set Fleetwood Town up for a promotion push next season.
The Town owner insists there won’t be an over-reliance on youth players as a result of the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several big earners have left the club in recent months, including captains Paul Coutts and Paddy Madden as well as striker Ched Evans.
Pilley has a foot in both camps – he want the best players possible for the Fleetwood first team but is also keen to see chances given to those coming through the academy.
But he assured Town fans they can expect investment this summer, with work already being done to pave the way for that.
Speaking at a fans’ forum on Thursday, Pilley said: “I love winning football games. It’s a very addictive feeling and we’ve been hugely successful over the last 17 years that I’ve been at the club.
“What I want is sporting success, primarily.
“Of course I want to see some of the younger lads come through into the first team.
“I want to see them be developed and become the stars of the future.
“I think that’s really important for a club like Fleetwood, particularly with the facilities that we’ve got at Poolfoot.
“Everybody needs to know and needs to understand that we’re really committed.
“We’ve already had a recruitment meeting last Monday night.
“We’re identifying targets for next season and we’ve already got several offers out there with players who are currently within the squad.
“We’re determined to be right up there next season.
“We want to make sure we’ve got the right players who are familiar with the system that Simon (Grayson, head coach) wants to play.
“Any suggestion that we’re on some cost-cutting measure and we’re just going to play kids is inaccurate.
“We’re committed to the younger players but we’re also going to have some experienced quality – tried and tested players at League One and above that are going to be playing for Fleetwood next season.”
It will be the responsibility of Grayson, who was granted a longer-term contract last week, to oversee the summer transfer activity and ensure that those new arrivals are a good fit for the club and for his preferred style of play.
The 51-year-old expects many of his current group to remain at the club beyond this season. And he outlined the characteristics he is looking for in players as he prepares to build his own Fleetwood squad, with his goals for the next campaign clear.
Grayson said: “We had a recruitment meeting, with about half a dozen of us talking about things, and you’re constantly looking at players for next year.
“That’s within your own group if they’re out of contract but also loan deals potentially for next year.
“We’re going to try to get a squad that has youthfulness, exuberance and with an infectiousness, with some experience as well.
“I really like working with this group of players at this moment in time.
“What you’ll find is that a large part of this group will be staying, but like at all football clubs there will be players that are leaving, with new ones coming in.
“It’s down to us to bring the right ones in who will come in for the right reasons and improve us, and hopefully take us at least to the play-offs next year.
“It doesn’t matter how old they are. If they’re 35 and they can do a job, we’ll sign them.
“If they’re 18 and they’re good enough, they’ll go into the team.”
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