Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has returned from what he's described as a "very positive" visit to India to meet with the club's Owners.
We caught up with the boss on his return to East Lancashire to discuss the trip and current situation at the club, as well as potential signings and plans for the future.
Scroll down to read the second half of the Q&A...
As ever, the supporters will be keen to hear about new signings this summer. Is that process already under way?
“Yes. I think first and foremost, we needed to go and see what level of support was going to be there. I wanted to make sure the situations of players that are already with us, those who did so very well for us last year and those who we feel we can move forward with, are addressed. Of course, recruitment of new players has been going on for three or four months now. The new recruitment department is still in its infancy and will grow over time, but we have a lot of targets. I started conversations with players and agents on the day I arrived back from India, so we’re pushing on now. Within all of that, we all have families and I’ll be going on holiday with mine, but in the not-too-distant future I think we’ll be signing some players. It’s an opportunity for them in their careers and an opportunity for us as a football club to move forward.”
Are you anticipating some exciting signings?
“I hope so. We’re looking at young players in the mould of someone like Bradley Dack, where we see their talent and what they can grow into. We need some Championship experience too, and we have some of that in the squad already. We’re also in talks with those who are out of contract such as Danny Graham and Craig Conway. We also need some players who have played at the top end and know what it takes to get out of the Championship, so we’ll be looking to add experience, quality and young talent. The day after I got back from India, I had meetings from 7am to 7pm with players and agents, and discussions with recruitment departments from some big Premier League clubs about some potential loans."
How important is it to maintain the team spirit you've assembled at Rovers when considering transfers?
"It's extremely important. My first thought was to look after the players who have done so well for this football club and make sure they aren't out of line with the new signings as they come in. The spirit is the most important thing. Of course, you need a bit of class to win games or someone to keep heading corners away, but spirit is the most important thing. The Owners understand that, to that point that I think the budget we've been given is going to be substantial enough to add some quality players and not break wage structures. I want to sign young, hungry, creative players and create competition all over the pitch."
There seems to be an excitement and a buzz around the club at the moment...
"We want to try and grow this football club from a really solid foundation and give it every chance. It’s important that I don’t cause friction in the dressing room by signing players on four times as much as the lads who all got the job done last year. We have to do it bit by bit. There’s nothing saying that we can’t have a fantastic year next year, as Millwall and Sheffield United managed to do. I’m sure they didn’t break any banks. That’s what I would hope to do – to have a really positive season, play positive football, try to score goals, as we do, and make it exciting for the fans. We'll be adding to the squad, hopefully we'll bring in players that excite the fans. We want to be a competitive, attacking football team that can cause problems for other sides. Getting the recruitment right is key, and I've spoken a lot about that."
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