Phil Parkinson spoke ahead of Saturday’s League 1 opening fixture at home to Bristol Rovers, he updated fans on the transfer situation, including Aiden McGeady and Benji Kimpioka’s future at the Stadium of Light as well as looking ahead to the match.
Phil Parkinson on Villa Midweek
"You could feel the confidence in the squad this morning in training. Whatever the game and whoever you're playing, you still have to put the ball in the back of the net, the new signings got their first goals, and that's a big plus for us. In any successful team, you need goals from all areas. Tuesday was an important for game for us in terms of getting the players minutes and getting them ready. I felt there was a huge benefit for us” When speaking on the subject of the youth players, Parkinson said “It's classed as the U23 team but I feel we needed to integrate the two groups of players into one squad, I feel it probably wasn't the case last year. With a smaller squad, we're going to need some of those players to step up to the plate."
Parkinson on the Takeover
“The owners of the club keep me informed when they really feel I need to know something. If they called me in every single circumstances I'd never be off the phone. When there is any definitive news, they'll let me know. But at this point, it's not at this stage.”
The Boss on Transfer Latest
“We would like Aiden (McGeady) to move on, as I've said before, I think the time is right. As ever in football, players move on and younger players emerge. That's what we'd like. The window doesn't close till October, Aiden is injured at the moment but he needs to get himself fit and hopefully we can reach an agreement where he finds a club he can go play for which he's obviously happy with." On the business so far, the gaffer said he is "very pleased", especially with the business for the youth side. "We're getting there - we're one or two short but I think we have a strong squad". When asked about the signing of Argentine striker Mateo Bajamich, he said “There's been no further progress on that. But there are few other situations we are looking at in terms of adding to the squad. The window is open for a while yet.”However, there was a less positive response when asked about academy prospect, Benji Kimpioka, “I think Jim Rodwell was speaking to Benji’s agent today. I had a chat with him, his family and his agent at the start of lockdown and said, ‘The one thing you can’t do is waste another season’. I told him he needed to be back for pre-season. Unfortunately, he wasn’t back, and that’s a shame. It’s important we have players that are really committed to the club. At the minute, money is difficult for young players. It’s difficult to give them the money they think they should be on because it’s difficult times. We’ve got a valuation of where Benji should be, and it’s a very, very fair one in this current climate. There’s an offer on the table for Benji, but at this stage he’s already six weeks behind all the other players.”
Parky on the Upcoming Season
"We're going to be one of the favourites for promotion-we have to embrace that expectancy and I'm confident we can achieve that goal. There will be some selection dilemmas for tomorrow’s game, after a fantastic performance midweek. I feel we are getting there. Probably a player or two short from where we would like to be. Signing Danny was important and gives us more options. With the nature of the season and games coming thick and fast, the stronger the squad the better chance you will have. There will be teams who get off to a good start but will find it tough to maintain when injuries and suspensions hit. "We want to get off to a good start and maintain it."
Bristol Rovers Preview
Elliot Embleton is "nearly there, he's done most of the work in training today and hopefully he'll back fully next week. Danny Graham and Arbenit Xhemajli did part of the training session today (Friday), Danny did a bit more than Arbenit and it's now getting those players right up to speed but they're not far off, Arbenit played the full 90 on Tuesday and we'll see how he is tomorrow. We'll see how Danny is as well. I'm pleased with Charlie (Wyke) because when you've been left out the team, what you've got to do is respond, he scored a couple against Carlisle and then again on Tuesday night. You want people to do the talking on the pitch and Charlie did that. I feel Griggy has had a very good pre-season, he's looked sharp and it's an interesting dilemma.It's a good one to have, though. Then there's Danny, who trained today and got 25 minutes the other night, who is going to be a key player for us this season." He also spoke positively of Josh Scowen, saying "I'm pleased with Josh, He's grown into the club. It was difficult when he came in because the lads were doing so well, but he's a good player. He's feisty, he'll tackle but he can handle the ball and play. He's got the ability to break forward at the right time as well, which he obviously showed on Tuesday night and in the pre-season game against Gateshead as well. There's a lot of competition for the starting line-up and for the bench."
PP on Max Power as Captain
"Max sets a good example and is very vocal, that is important. I want a leadership group, that myself and Steve Parkin can liaise with on all issues. There are three good leaders (Power, Grant Leadbitter and Bailey Wright) who have all been captains before. It is good for a manager when you can look round and see there are a few who could wear the armband. They can all help us set the culture going forward."