Neil Harris expects to wait a little while to land his summer targets.
Gills manager Neil Harris has admitted he will need to be patient during the summer transfer window to land his targets.
The boss, alongside Assistant Manager David Livermore, Goalkeeping Coach Deren Ibrahim and Head of Recruitment Nicky Shorey, have been busy during the off season to make contact with representatives to make progress on deals and, although nothing has been confirmed to date, Neil revealed earlier in the week that strong progress had been made.
He said: “There is an element of patience; I want my squad together today, that’s not realistic because contracts don’t run out until June 30. Ultimately you can’t sign players until the first of July, you can make agreements with players and clubs and it gets announced sooner, but the amount of times I’ve signed players at previous clubs and not announced it, because you can’t.
“Contract law is contract law and there’s always an element of that.
“I will always try and steer you guys [media and fans] to sort of saying maybe we have done some business which we can’t announce yet, but at the moment we haven’t done any business. We’ve moved things in a really positive direction in some individual cases.
"Ultimately, patience, yes. It’s tough but at the moment there’s nothing out there in the market, just a few deals have been done in the EFL.
“There’s nothing happening because people are on holiday and expectations of agents and players are ridiculously high and you have to wait for them to start dwindling, and that certainly happens at the start of June.”
The manager was asked if there were any specific areas of the pitch that had extra priority.
He replied: “Well, we need two goalkeepers. Three strikers, two wingers, full-backs, two centre halves, a holding midfield player and another eight – lots of players for me to find! We need all positions, as we know. Top end of the pitch is vital, we didn’t score enough goals last year but ultimately strikers tend to cost the most amount of money and are the toughest to negotiate with and bring in to clubs.
“We will work hard on all areas of the pitch, but centre forwards we have to focus on. We need to get the balance between all positions and what areas we want to take loan players in on, and what areas we want to bring our own players in and try and develop over a period of time.
“You then to think about age of players, I want some more experience in the team, I need some more youth in the team, I need to make sure I’ve got leadership in the team so that tends to come with experience in key areas like centre half and holding midfield area. Lots to consider, but you need athleticism aswell at the level.
“What I’ve seen in League 2 at the games I’ve watched, it’s a really sizeable and powerful league. It’s almost what League 1 used to be, is League 2 now. Northampton, Port Vale and Mansfield, not so much Swindon, but the other three in the play-offs, from the four games I was at, are big physical aggressive teams.
“Swindon were the exception that tried to dominate the football and play total Football – they didn’t get through so we know we have to have a physical team that can compete and we know we have to have experience in the side, but then I want to look at young players and give them an opportunity aswell and make sure we get the blend right between the age and that experience.
“Ultimately we want to be successful this season, so I’m going to need some luck, I have to be honest, I’ll need some luck because I need to recruit probably 14 players.
“Am I going to get all 14 right? I hope so. Very unlikely. So I need to get more right than I get wrong and then the players I bring in affect areas of the pitch and if we have to adjust in the middle window, i.e. January, then we have to adjust.
"It’s exciting bringing new players in and fans certainly get excited by new players because they haven’t seen them before and they want to see what sort of players we are bringing in, but it can be daunting as a manager aswell because there is a lot of research and hard yards that go in and behind the scenes hours that take place, car journeys and watching games on laptops, watching clips of players and you have to go through some rubbish aswell – no disrespect to players in our industry but agents never have a bad player.
"Agents have players that play at a level you wouldn’t believe and they think they should be playing in the Premier League.
“We have to work through everything, it’s exciting aswell and I’m not putting a damper on it, I’m just a realist that we will get a few wrong, but I hope I get the majority right.”