LIAM McDonald has confirmed he will be in charge at Redditch United for the new season and says he “cannot wait” for the new campaign to begin.
At the end of the 2014/15 season – which saw the Reds finish just a point and a place outside the Southern League Premier Division play-offs – United chairman Chris Swan revealed there had been interest from elsewhere in his highly-rated manager.
However, after fruitful talks with Swan, McDonald has committed his immediate future to the Valley Stadium club and has wasted no time in launching his plans for what he hopes will be an exciting 2015/16 campaign.
Despite seeing goalkeeper Sam Hornby sign a contract with League One side Burton Albion and talented midfielder Calvin Dinsley and gifted right back Jordan Jones depart to Conference Premier outfit Kidderminster Harriers at the end of last week, McDonald says he has every faith in the players at his disposal and is relishing working with the new faces he is close to bringing in.
“I am really pleased to be staying at Redditch and, whilst I was away on holiday, I was working hard on bringing new players in,” said McDonald.
“I have had encouraging conversations with Chris (Swan) and there is a bit more money in the budget for me to work with, which is appreciated.
“I know what I need to bring into the squad and I am pretty much over the line with a deal for a keeper and am close with a right back to replace Jordan and with a move for another defender.
“I am also hopeful of bringing in two strikers who will be very good additions at this level and there should be news on that by the end of this week.”
McDonald, who has re-signed a dozen of last season’s squad, added Redditch were now in a position to tie some of their most gifted players to contracts, meaning the club will be rewarded in future should more players make the move into full-time football.
“In the past two years six players have left Redditch to move into full-time football and, whilst we are very proud of the roles we as a coaching team have played in those players’ careers, it’s important now for the club to be rewarded in these instances,” added the boss.
“Even if not’s a transfer fee, things such as friendlies and sell-on clauses would be massive. For example, a friendly against Swindon Town (who signed Jermaine Hylton) would have brought about £10,000 into the club, which would make a big difference.”
The latest player to leave Redditch to move into League football is talented keeper Hornby, with the 20-year-old having agreed a deal with newly-promoted Burton, and McDonald said he was thrilled for the player.
He continued: “Sam was my first signing as manager here and in many ways has been the hardest player to see leave because he’s an infectious character who will be missed by this football club.
“That said, I am delighted he’s got this chance and it really wouldn’t surprise me to see him playing in their first team by Christmas.
“If he’d been at Redditch this coming season, then I’m sure he’d have made the England C squad.
“Likewise with Calvin (Dinsley). He has risen through the leagues and was progressing at a rapid rate at the end of last season. It’s a good chance for him at Kidderminster.
“What we need to do now is bring new players into the club who will buy into the way we do things and see what our coaching team have done to enhance players’ careers. I am confident we will do this and we’ll bring some new stars through.”
Asked for his views on seeing former Reds strike star Hylton starting both legs of Swindon’s victorious League One play-off semi-final against Sheffield United, McDonald said: “Again, It’s a feeling of pride. Jermaine is a great lad and it’s brilliant to think he’ll probably be playing at Wembley and could be a Championship player next season.”