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Cammell Laird boss ready for busy season
AFTER a fortunate reprieve from relegation in the 2011-12 campaign, Cammell Laird FC manager Tony Sullivan is determined not to have a repeat of last season.
He points to evolution rather than revolution as the possible answer to the issues that have troubled the side on and off the park over the last couple of campaigns.
With the pre-season games starting on July 21 away at Wigan Robin Park followed by a high profile home fixture against neighbours Tranmere Rovers on July 23 Tony is keen to hit the ground running.
He said: "Pre-season plans are going well so far, it's good to see the lads back and keen to work hard from the outset.
"Last season we finished bottom of the table and that is just completely unacceptable but in many ways we need to change the mentality of the players and to an extent some of the people around the club too.
"I'm keen to get the players firing on all cylinders and keen on the joy of winning, maybe some of that determination has been lacking recently.
"The potential for Cammell Laird FC and the players is there and if we can all see its potential and get off to a good start then the sky's the limit.
"The last couple of Saturdays we've been training on Moreton shore and we've been training as a club.
"The reserve and youth sides have been with us and as a unit we prepare together.
"Pre-season there is a lot of trial-esque angles to it, we've invited some players back from last season and there are some that we have not.
"We are not a club who are financially strong and there have perhaps been players here of late who are money-orientated.
"Recently I've had players ring me up asking about a possible spot in the squad and one of the first things they ask is 'what's the money like'?
"At that point the conversation comes to an abrupt halt.
"When Cammell Laird FC take to the field in the new season our lads will be running out on to the park looking to win, both for themselves and the football club.
"We are also looking at some fresh talent, there are undoubtably some rough diamonds out there and it's just a case of assessing what's out there.
"We've not gone down the lucrative route on pre-season games, some clubs will try and attract a few big names down and make a few bob on the gates but our pre-season fixture list is designed as a test.
"We have been lucky enough to arrange a fixture against our friends from Tranmere Rovers on July 23 and that should be a great game as always but we are also keen to display another side to our players.
"The lads are in a great position, semi-pro at a good level and they need sometimes a reminder of how lucky they are so we will be playing clubs where they can see not much by way of money at them but players that play for the win and for the badge."
With this in mind 'Sul' clearly has a focus on the new campaign, so we asked him about whether there were targets being discussed for the forthcoming Evo-Stik North campaign.
"Tony Sullivan is not a man who wants to go down in history as the manager who led Cammell Laird FC to two successive relegation zone finishes.
"I have standards and this season my expectations match my standards.
"After the last campaign I offered my resignation to the clubs committee, the club, very aware of the restraints and problems that we had as a group looked beyond that and as a collective we discussed what the issues where and what can be done to fix it.
"The club see the vision and declined my resignation and we have a three year plan for success.
"Naturally a good season in league and cup is a target but we also want to develop as a community club and get people around us that can see that.
"We have a committee who share that belief and we're getting people in at the club who can enable us to develop this including one or two people returning.
"Last season we had one of, if not the lowest budget in the division, this coming season we have set our budget and are not going to fall in to the trap of many clubs at this level of falling foul of money demands but we can offer players a platform for pride, development and success.
"I'm looking to get the squad all picked and in place by August 7 and this season we expect on all fronts."