In the first first of a two part interview Steven Pressley talks Callum Wilson, losing other key players and what fans can expect from his new recruits…
PRE-SEASON is well under way for the Sky Blues after the squad reported back to the club’s training ground in Ryton at the beginning of July.
As preparations for the eagerly anticipated 2014/15 campaign continue to take shape, our sports editor Steve Carpenter spoke with manager Steven Pressley about what has already been a busy summer period for the likeable Scot.
The key to success and possible promotion for the Sky Blues came in the form of one man – Callum Wilson.
At the end of last season Pressley went on record and said he wanted to build a team around the striker.
But fast forward to July and Wilson’s departure for a fee believed to be in the region of £3m has provided cause for concern.
However as the old saying goes, every player has their price, and Pressley is hoping the 21-year-old can fire Bournemouth to success on the south coast.
“When you lose your top golascorer of course you’re going to be disappointed but I’m also very proud of the player and very proud of what he achieved last season.
“When we arrived at the club he was on the periphery of things but we put trust and faith in him and repaid us with a wonderful season.
“He was a terrific lad, not just a really good football player but a really good character.
“The offer that eventually came in was one that we just couldn’t refuse and it was a life-changing opportunity for him and sometimes you can’t stand in a players way when that happens.
“We are sad to see him go but we wish him all the best and hopefully he can do us proud at Bournemouth.”
Wilson was not the only other high profile departure over the summer with several first team players understandably making the step up to the Championship.
Joe Murphy joined up with former boss Mark Robins at Huddersfield, Frank Moussa made the move to Charlton, Blair Adams was allowed to move to Notts County and Cyrus Christie opted for a switch to Derby County.
But Pressley’s response was not to panic. Both himself and Steve Waggott had identified replacements but the problem was always whether they were happy to make the drop down to League One.
“We’ve brought in six players now and we’ve allowed a number to go and a number have gone through their own choice over the summer months but we’re delighted with our acquisitions.
“It can be difficult for the fans because they’re seeing players leaving first and they’re not seeing an influx of players coming in and that can be difficult.
“But I’ve had to emphasise on a number of occasions that there had to be a little bit of trust and patience because some of the players we were going for were payers probably at times were expecting to be playing in a higher league.
“We deal with a situation and find a solution to it. Always find a solution to the problem. So we’ve had targets for these positions for a number of months now.
“Coventry City is a huge club but we’re in League One and I think the players that we’ve brought in here aren’t League One players and that’s what’s pleasing.
“Players that we’ve had to be patient on and that’s been the most difficult thing. At times we’ve thought we’re not going to get the player and then we’ve managed to bring him here.
“So we did have to be really patient and it was probably more difficult for our supporters watching our players leave and no immediate replacements came in.
“But I hope that our patience pays off and only time will tell.
As for which players he feels will make a big impact next season, Pressley added: “I think that we’ve brought in the players that we believe have that apetite.
“You can change many things about football players but a players mentality is the hardest one the change, so when I’m looking to recruit generally one of the things I’m looking at is their mentality and a desire to do their job properly.
“I would like to think that so far in the recruitment this pre-season that we’ve managed to achieve that.
“The Reda Johnson signing is a sign on intent. I think that one of the areas I pinpointed last year was our physicality in the second part of the season and our strength and standing up to the game.
“I identified that as an area we had to improve and there’s no doubt that Reda brings a physicality and strength to this team.
“So he’ll be an important player for us but equally so will all of the players.
“On paper I think they’re all very good signings but the proof of the pudding is in the performance and I hope that they can show the fans that they’re really good players.
“They all in their own right will contribute to the team.
“The way we play is very much based around a team performance with each player knowing his responsibility for the team so each player I think will bring a real quality.”
Steven Pressley hopes Callum Wilson does the club proud after the striker joined Bournemouth over the summer. Picture by Jon Mullis. 18.014.008.cov.jm18.