Following the news that the club have successfully concluded contract talks with members of his promotion-chasing squad, manager Gary Johnson was quick to praise the club’s hierarchy for the backing he has received during those negotiations.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m ecstatic,” said Johnson.
“The beauty of this is to get everybody onside and committed to the cause – that’s a massive, powerful thing. If they’re all committed to the cause, for themselves but also for their teammates, it creates a very strong unit. To get everybody to agree new contracts before we know what level we’re at, it does show their commitment to the cause and what we’re trying to do. The Club has backed me because it costs money to sign players on at this stage for the simple reason it costs quite a lot of money to keep these players throughout the summer. At least they can all go away and have their holidays knowing they’re coming back to a job. Credit to the Club because they’ve backed me on it and it’s quite an expensive thing to do, but I didn’t want to lose all we’ve worked for, all the coaching and development that we’ve done, we’ve got some young lads and we need them carrying on with their development.”
Although there is plenty of work left to complete this season, United’s boss is already planning ahead for next summer, whichever division the club find themselves in.
“Ryan [Dickson] is on contract anyway, he’s got another year so when I say that’s a full house that includes Ryan. Samir [Nabi] has been told he can find another club, and we’re trying to fix him up at the moment, trying to find somewhere that needs his type of game. The Bristol City lads are committed, hopefully we can keep a few of them for next year, depending on our level, but if not we’ve got to find four as committed players on loan as that’s how you balance the budget. I didn’t want to wait until July 1st to find 20-odd players, at least we’re building around a strong squad. You can’t go into a season with 11, so we’ve got to make sure that we pick the right people to join our 11. The due diligence is very important because it’s got to be the character and personality that wants to learn and develop and improve their game, not somebody who’s coming here for a last contract.”