There’s been a lot of talk about the budget for next season.
So here is a transcription of exactly what has been said on the record over the last week or so - including hints about a smaller squad and what Rovers will be looking for this summer.
DF: Darren Ferguson
GS: Gavin Strachan
RS: Radio Sheffield
LH: Liam Hoden
PG: Paul Goodwin
PC: Peter Catt
Monday, April 30
RS: What stage are you at with those talks with the powers that be? Would you have normally, at the other clubs that you’ve been at, had them by this stage?
RS: So why do you think you’re behind here?
DF: I think it’s just circumstantial. We’ve had the chats last week, I’ve had another one today and we’ll have another one later in the week.
It’s just a case of what I feel we need moving forward, digesting the season, analysing the season.
I think it’s clear for everyone that’s watched us all season where we need to improve.
Obviously players out of contract will be moving on so that leaves a hole there.
All these things have to considered and then we make a decision how we’re going to do it.
RS: You don’t want to stagnate.
DF: That’s part of the remit I think and that’s got to happen. I don’t want to be a League One manager and I’ve made that clear.
The players don’t want to be in League One. They want to have a right challenge, everyone does at the football club.
We’ve got to make sure we keep on progressing but that would be normal for most clubs.
We’ve just got to find the right balance to it all and hopefully that’s what we can do.
RS: And the owners share that ambition, even if it means they’ll have to put their hands in their pockets?
We’ve had chats and they understand what I feel we need to improve on, in terms of areas of the team and positions.
Tuesday, May 1
PC: You’ve mentioned about missing Coppinger and Rowe, two of your most creative players, and you’ve talked about what you want to do next season but it’s not just a case, you feel, of bringing someone in who can score more goals, you want some creative players as well who can create the chances?
DF: Yes, but it’ll all depends on what I can bring in.
PC: What’s the signs on that so far?
DF: No further on from when we last spoke about it.
We’ll see how that goes, but I am losing quite a few players. The ones who are out of contract, there’s going to be quite a few leaving.
We’ll wait and see on that.
LH: You mentioned a few weeks ago that you might look at doing something with Tom Anderson for next season, is that still the case?
DF: I don’t know. I can’t answer that until I know what I’ve got to play with.
LH: Are you meeting on Thursday to discover that?
DF: We decided that there might be a meeting this week or next week.
LH: Is that leaving it a bit late?
DF: That’s what it is.
Thursday, May 3
RS: Where are we at with your talks with the owners?
DF: I’m hoping to get confirmation tomorrow at some stage as to what the budget will be and then we crack on from there.
RS: You’ll have a bit of time, then, to crack on over the summer.
DF: Yes, listen, I’ve got to work towards A, B and C, whatever it’s going to be. Plans are set in stone for that, in terms of whichever one it will be and how many I could get in with what I’ve got to play with.
When I know tomorrow, hopefully, what it is then I’ll try and crack on as quickly as I can.
RS: Are you confident that you are going to have a budget to be able to assemble a good squad this summer to be able to compete next season?
DF: I don’t know, is the answer. Other talks will go on and then we’ll find out.
Whatever it is the motivation has to be, if we can, we want to improve. There’s go to be improvement from the existing players as well.
There’s also one or two different areas I want to improve outside of the football side that would help the players I feel.
It all comes into one pot and I’ve just got to manage that accordingly.
RS: What sort of areas other than the football side do you think the players could benefit from?
DF: One or two little changes in terms of the medical and fitness side of things.
I feel that if possibly it is going to be a smaller squad then we need to make sure we look after that side of things.
PG: You did previously say you’d like two players for each position, are you still hopeful of being able to do that?
DF: That was something I would’ve liked to have done. Whether I can or not, I don’t know.
Unfortunately I feel, for whatever reason, a lot of the last couple of weeks have been spent talking about budgets.
I don’t particularly want to continue talking about that but you’re obviously going to ask. That’s your job to do that.
The sooner it’s out of the way, the better really, and we can crack on.
PG: If you were left with the group of players that are going to remain here, after people out of contract have moved on, how far away do you think you’d be from where you want to be next season?
DF: In an ideal world you want to try and replace what’s gone but sometimes that can’t be an option. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Numbers wise, if James Coppinger stayed and you take into account the ones that aren’t going to be here, you’re talking about 16 players. So you need to add to that.
PG: There’s a core group of senior players here - like Copps, Butler, Rowe and Marquis - who are instrumental to what you do. Is it that calibre of player that needs to come into this club to push it onto the next level?
DF: We’ve got to try and get the best players we can for what’s available.
Perhaps it may be a case of not getting as many but getting a bit more quality.
That might be something I have to do.
Or it might be a case we manage to get four or five of real quality. I don’t know yet.
I would go for certainly quality over numbers, I think I’ve got no choice with that.
I do feel that we need, if we can, to get another striker in to help John [Marquis].
Saturday, May 5
PC: What sort of quality of players do you think you think you’ll be able to bring in over the summer?
GS: Hopefully players that will improve the shortcomings that we’ve had. The last few games have highlighted we need a bit more help with the goalscoring.
We’ll try and get the best that we can.
It’s not going to be a huge squad. We don’t like working with a huge squad.
We like players who can maybe play in a couple of different positions.
And we’ve found that the smaller squads keep players hungry and motivated.