With Wahbi Khazri set to join St Etienne in a £6m deal and Trabzonspor said to be interested in taking Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji off our hands, there is hope that our wage bill could finally be in line with our finances and we can move forward and strengthen our squad appropriately. Obviously getting rid of Lee Cattermole would be the final piece of the jigsaw, but the fact that no one has made an inquiry for him speaks volumes.
In other news, Jack Ross has been chatting about what we can expect from Duncan Watmore this season. “He hopefully will be late September, maybe October for a full return,” Ross said. “He’s doing really well. He has been out on the pitch, not with us but out there. He’s a tremendously positive young man anyway, so he’d always give you the impression that he’s fantastic in any case. But the feedback from the medical staff is very positive – they’re very happy. He’s a huge player for me if he’s back.”
Jack Ross then turned his attentions to upcoming fixtures, both pre season and league. Ross said: “Like everybody, seeing our fixtures brings that realism to the fact that the club finds itself in League One. We have a tough opening spell, both logistically in terms of travelling and because of the calibre of the opposition. To win any league, at any level, in any country is not easy, so that has never changed. It probably just adds a bit more excitement to it from our point of view. We know who we are playing and what we need to prepare for, but for us, at the moment, it’s very much about building a trust between my staff and the players. That’s an important thing to develop to begin with because once we get that, you can start to influence them in terms of how you want to do things and how you want to play. We’ve got five [games], plus the training exercise we had in Portugal. But, because of the numbers in the squad, it has to work that way. At the moment, we are working with a lighter squad so they will get plenty of game time in those fixtures. If I was dealing with a squad of 25 or 30 players, we’d need more games to get them all game time. The number of games is right for where we are now, but, of course, we can adapt it – if there is a sudden influx of 10 more players then we would need more games, but I don’t envisage that being the case.”
Meanwhile, Aiden McGeady and Jon McLaughlin are set to miss the start of pre season, due to injury. Jack Ross explained: “Aiden hasn’t managed to take part in any of pre-season because he picked up an injury before he came back while he was doing some work on his own. He hasn’t really improved which has been to his frustration because he’s not been able to get out on the pitch. He’s still unavailable at the moment and probably will be for the next couple of weeks until it settles down. Jon McLaughlin could potentially miss the game [against Darlington] because he’s had a wee niggle in his groin today, so we may leave him tomorrow. We have Max and Robbin, though, and other than that we should be okay.”