Food for thought at Highbury
Fleetwood chief executive Steve Curwood says investment off the pitch can be as key as Town's new recruits on it this summer.
Kyle Dempsey, Conor McAleny and Harvey Rodgers all spurned interest from the second tier to join Uwe Rosler’s squad on three-year deals, while this week Leeds right-back Lewie Coyle and Huddersfield hotshot Jordy Hiwula have joined the club on season-long loans. With other signings made for the development squad, Town’s recruitment drive is looking rosy but there are new faces behind the scenes too.
Ciaran Donnelly has made the switch from Blackpool to head up the academy and former player Stephen Crainey has stepped up from the under-16s to under-18s, assisting coach Nathan Rooney.
James Barrow joined the staff from Wigan as a sports scientist and Town are looking for a nutritionist.
And Curwood says investment in infrastructure is key to the club’s progress. He said: “We are keen to recruit on the support staff side. While we have a very healthy and competitive budget on the field ... our success can be built on having the right environment, support staff and people in specific roles.
“It is about players, but people around the facility develop those players and make sure they are hungry, well educated well drilled and well fed. The sports science and medical support are there to keep players on the pitch, so investing in those areas is key to us.
“I think it is sometimes underestimated that in the blink of an eye you can spend a lot of money on a player who may not feature, but investing in an additional sports scientist can be just as important.
“We have done a lot of work improving players’ nutrition and it comes at a considerable expense to provide 80 breakfasts, 80 lunches and all that goes on around match day.
“We also bringing in some nutritionist support to make sure the chefs can be educated in sports nutrition and players can be educated to keep themselves in tip-top condition.
“The sports nutrition side is massive. Uwe is really passionate about players understanding their diets and nutrition. It is not boring if you start to understand what you can and can’t eat.
“Certainly with young players it is about the education. They need to understand their own bodies.
“A big part for us is that off-field support. Some people from the outside might think, ‘Crikey! There are a lot of staff there doing a lot of things’, but I can assure you everyone has a specific role designed to get the best out of our squad.
“Others may be able to throw two or three more players into the squad. We can’t, so I think it is best to get greater value for money by investing in the infrastructure off the field that can be the difference.”