Enjoy the game.
For us, it’s about continuing to build on some of the good play that was shown against West Ham and Colchester in those friendlies and look to get some momentum going as the season gets underway.
Finally, I’d like to welcome Mark McGhee, his coaching staff and the players from Bristol Rovers to Portman Road tonight. I’m sure they will be relishing the opportunity of taking on a Championship club.
But that’s the way I see the future for us. You need experience in certain areas of course but we need to bring in the type of player that can stay here for three or four years.
It’s important though that we look to the future and I’ve made it clear that we need to bring in younger players into the team. If you look at the midfield that played against West Ham and Colchester, we had Massimo [Luongo], Luke Hyam, Josh Carson and Jet [Jay-Emmanuel-Thomas]. Young players, all of them. In Massimo’s case, one that hasn’t even played a League game yet.
We both agreed that it was best that he moved on and got first-team football elsewhere and he will because he’s a good player. Everyone at the Club wishes him well. He was very popular here.
I have known Jimmy for a long time and I know he needs to be playing week in, week out so I sat down with him and explained that I couldn’t guarantee he would be getting regular football here.
Jimmy is a top lad. He was player of the year with the fans when he first arrived here, despite playing only 17 games. He was a vital member of the team last season when we went on that terrific run, playing some good football but from November onwards he was out of the side really.
While we are working very hard to add to the squad, we have also decided to let Jimmy Bullard move on.
I can understand that totally. We can still bring in loan players after August 31,the Premier League clubs can’t so they are not going to let players go out until they are ready. It makes it very frustrating – and I am frustrated! Perhaps we should start the season on September 1!
The biggest problem – certainly when dealing with Premier League clubs – is the transfer window. Managers at that level are wanting to hang on to players until they have found replacements. They want to know what their squad is going to be at August 31 because they know that they can’t add to it after the window has shut.
We have agreed fees with clubs and then there has been a change of heart at the other end or players have got injured at clubs and caused things to be held up.
That’s not the only cause of frustration for me at the moment. I’d hoped to have added to our squad before tonight’s game but for one reason or another – and there have been plenty of reasons – we have not been able to achieve that.
I can never understand why there are international fixtures this week. Managers want a clear run in to the first League game of the season and players are the same. That used to be the case but now we seem to have dropped an international game into that week and I don’t know who benefits from that.
Tonight’s match is certainly one that we will be going all out to win, though we could have done without losing three players to international call-ups. The loss of Damien Delaney, Josh Carson and Ronan Murray has stretched us squad wise. You can see that by the age of the players we have on the bench.
It’s strange having a cup game before the first League match. I was at Watford on Saturday for their game against Wycombe in the competition and there was still a pre-season feel about it.
Welcome back to Portman Road for the first game of the new season, the Capital One Cup tie against Bristol Rovers.