Warrington Rylands caretaker manager Jody Banim has discussed the recent changes to the squad at Gorsey Lane.
Following the exit of David McNabb, the former Ashton United boss was installed as caretaker boss.
After his arrival, a number of names have departed the club with the likes of Andy Scarisbrick, James Barrigan, Ryan Brooke and Kevin Ellison among the players leaving.
Meanwhile, Southport midfielder Dylan Vassallo became the latest addition to his squad, joining the likes of Niah Payne, Kelly N’Mai, Harry Pratt and Sean Cooke who have arrived under the former striker.
Banim outlined one of the reasons for the recent surge of outgoings being a way to ‘manage the budget’. He told Off The Park: “It was managing the budget, we were a little bit over budget, it was getting that back to the correct levels.
“Also when we looked at the squad, it wasn’t geared towards a 4-2-3-1 which is what I wanted to play, which I felt would help the forward players and suit them – the likes of Kane [Drummond] and Callum [Dolan] – it was about bringing in some numbers higher up the pitch.
“We had good cover at the time, Aaron Morris we didn’t feel would be too far away, Josh Langley was still fit so we felt we were good in those defensive areas, Jordan Mustoe has come back in so it was more so bolstering those attacking areas. That’s why we brought Niah Payne in to cover on the wing, Kelly N’Mai’s come in, Harry Pratt’s come in at the number nine and obviously given us a bit of target in those central areas – a different type to Ryan Brooke.
“I think bringing in Harry Pratt has allowed Kane and Callum those spaces to make runs in behind then it was important to bring in a recognised 10 who could get in between the lines and dictate which Sean Cooke will do and Kelly N’Mai has done as well.
“That was our thinking, the squad looked set up to play 3-5-2 but when we’ve taken over it was playing a diamond with two up top, having spoken to the players, we didn’t feel it was getting the best out of players which is why we changed the shape. From that we had to recruit accordingly, the right players, that was our thinking.”
He added: “There was some players in and around the squad who weren’t featuring so it was good to go get them some football, it worked for us and them, we had good relationship with everyone who’s left the club and I feel we done everything the right way, we’ve been open and honest with them, when we’ve had discussions, we’ve spoken about their futures, shook hands and moved on really.
“I’m pleased from that angle that anyone who’s gone has got a good impression of the football club as well because that’s very important for us. We won’t have finished, there’s more work to do in fine-tuning, it’s got to be the right player, it can’t just be any player which is why we’re a little bit light.
“Anyone we bring in has to be better with what we’ve got and also getting someone out who’s on a contract mid-season, even the seven day approaches brings its difficulties as well, we’ve been in for a couple of players and they haven’t been interested so it’s not as straight forward as it seems.”
On Tuesday, they suffered their first defeat in six as they were beaten by Lancaster City. N’Mai’s goal halved the deficit but the two first-half goals were enough to inflict a third defeat of his short tenure.
Unfortunately for the Blues, it was a deserved defeat in Banim’s eyes after a poor start. He continued: “Really disappointing, you can lose games but it was the manner of the defeat more than anything really, I didn’t see it coming.
“Barring the first two games when we came in, we made some changes, I think it’s had a positive impact on the team as a whole, the six performances before that I don’t think we got what we deserved in the draws as well.
“We could’ve been sat here with six wins but we didn’t get started at all, they were much more physical than us, I haven’t seen their running stats but I’d hazard a guess that their running stats were higher than ours and that’s the most disappointing thing really.
“If anyone watched the performance against Warrington [Town], we left everything out there and the adversity we were facing inspired the boys and I think that’s the type of performance we need in every game in this league, maybe some of the players looked at league position last night and felt it was going to be an easy three points – which is deadly really. When you start poorly, it’s very difficult to turn that tide which we found.”
It’s a trip to Matlock Town this weekend for last season’s Northern Premier League West Champions.
They’ve already tasted defeat to the Gladiators earlier in the caretaker’s tenure but he is keen to ensure that their defeat last time out to Lancaster was a one-off.
“It’s important we don’t get too low when we lose and too high when we win, we need to analyse it and see where we went wrong, I think it was down to workrate, I don’t think we showed too much desire with and without to win the football match,” he added.
“We don’t become a bad team because we lost a football match and we don’t become a great team because we won the game, we need to analyse it, we need to learn from the mistakes and move forward.
“We’re learning about the players as we go, we’ve had three wins, three draws and three defeats so it’s quite even, we are looking to imprint our own style on it, bring our own players in and while we’re doing that we need to be successful as well. It’s important we don’t let it become a trend and we nip it in the bud but we don’t want to go overboard, it’s one game. We need to prove it’s a one-off on Saturday.”
In his first nine games, the Rylands boss has an equal record of three wins, three draws and three defeats but there has been mitigating factors within some of their results.
Injuries have ravaged through the squad and saw them have a goalkeeper crisis in the derby against Warrington Town but Banim also feels like defensively there are some improvements to make.
“There’s a really good group in there, there’s some talented footballers, we’ve been very unfortunate with injuries.
“At the beginning, we were a little overbudget when I came in so it was addressing that and keeping us competitive at the same time so we’ve reduced the numbers of the team then we’ve sustained injuries which has hampered us numbers-wise. We seen that at Warrington, we only had two subs [against Lancaster City] which I probably take responsibility for because the club aren’t asking me to run on a smaller squad, it’s me trying to manage the numbers we’ve got.
“Kane [Drummond] was suspended, the other three are short-term injuries so for us to start padding the squad with extra players, it’s just going to cause an issue in two weeks time when we’ve got a bloated squad again so it was calculated.
“From our point of view, we may need to bring in some numbers in between now and then. We’ve recognised we have got talented players, there’s just one or two tweaks that need to be in there, we need to be more consistent with our performances and not conceding the silly goals we are, we’ve conceding goals which are highly preventable, we need to strong on set-pieces but one of the overriding emotions is we can score goals.
“We know we can score goals and if we tighten up at the back, not conceding silly goals, as a squad there’s a trend and a pattern emerging. It’s something we’ve looked at as a team, how to defend better but we’ve scored 18 in nine, we’ve conceded 17, I think eight of those were in the first two games so we have tightened up but we’re still conceding similar goals and not learning our lesson so I think a little bit more work needs to go into that.”
On the squad as a whole, Banim didn’t rule out further reinforcements which began with the arrival of Vassallo.
But with the injuries within the squad, there is light beginning to emerge as the likes of Charlie Doyle, Aaron Morris and new arrival, Cooke, aren’t too far from a return.
And with their unbeaten run now cemented in the history books, the Warrington Rylands chief hopes that they can bounce back from their midweek disappointment and start working towards their aspirations.
He said: “We’re looking to bring a couple in, speaking to the injured lads, they’re two to three weeks away.
“Charlie Doyle’s case he’s not played much football although he is a fit boy, he’s not someone who’s going to come back into the team, he’ll come back into the squad, Aaron Morris has been out for a bit but he’s still not got full flexion in his knee.
“Sean Cooke, we’ll earmark him for the South Shields game so we’ve still got another two games to get through, it’s important we get a couple in before Saturday to bolster the squad.
“I fancy us at home against anybody, we played them in my second game and I thought we were well beaten on the day but I think we’re a different side now, they’ve made changes with the manager coming in, pretty simple to myself.
“It’ll be a good game, a difficult game, they’re coming off the back off a defeat to Liversedge as well so it’ll be two teams looking to right wrongs from Tuesday night, I think if we’ve got any ambition to get promoted whether it’s winning the league or play-offs, we’ve got to start winning games, getting three points starting Saturday.”