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Nick on the challenge of getting recruitment right

An extensive catch-up with Wimbledon's Assistant Manager

18 July 2020

Nick Daws said that club staff have been working ‘incredibly hard’ behind-the-scenes to strengthen our first-team squad.

Though no definite date has yet been earmarked for a return to training, Glyn and his management team have been putting plenty of plans in place for the season ahead with boosting the squad at the top of the agenda.

With the Covid-19 crisis having prevented more traditional ways of watching potential new recruits, Nick and his support staff have been making the most of online scouting tools, offering a detailed set of stats and video clips of players.

Nick, who was appointed as Assistant Manager last October after previously being our Head of Recruitment, talked to Rob Cornell about a range of subjects, including adding to our squad.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Nick. We hope that we will have some additions in by the time we restart, but that’s not always as easy as it seems because there’s a negotiation process and things have got to be finalised. My focus has been on working with the scouts again and getting the recruitment database up to speed.

“The season is potentially still two months away, but all I can say is that we’ve been working incredibly hard as staff. That goes for the four scouts working diligently by reporting online. This has been possible because of the club’s support by investing in infrastructure that allows us to do that. We wouldn’t have been able to do that 18 months ago, we just wouldn’t have had any opportunity to watch players if this situation had presented itself back then.

“We’ve explored every type of recruitment tool to help us through this period and our partners have been incredibly supportive by giving us additional log-ins for extra access. We’ve explored all sorts of markets. We’ve been quite experimental because we feel that’s the way forward.

"It won’t stop us from signing a player like Nesta Guinness-Walker from Met Police, but further down the line as we become a world-renowned team in a new stadium - and everything that comes with it - our profile will be raised. What we’ve tried to do is get ahead of the game. There have been players from beyond these shores that have played for the football club in its previous guise and that’s a possibility that can happen again.

“My remit when I first came here in January 2019 was just to spend a three or four month period putting something together to allow Wally, Glyn, and the rest of the support team to work with the players with the objective of staying in League One. It started in that January window with Aaron Ramsdale and Steve Seddon, and it has continued since.”

Nick added that the hard work put in by staff will provide the manager with recommendations that allow him to act quickly in the transfer market.

“If Glyn wants to know which players in a certain position we’ve recommended, as a recruitment team, to sign, then he can do that within seconds,” said Nick. “There are no question marks then, and it’s a case of the coaching team then making those decisions about what we do. Once we’ve made those decisions, it’s up to Joe and the guys to be able to put together a package that will allow us to bring that player in. If we can do that, great. If we can’t, then we move on to the second or the third target. We’ve got plenty of options and it’s just a case of working through them.”

In his interview, Nick said that he can’t wait to be back doing what he loves best – coaching players out on the training pitch. No stone has been left unturned in terms of putting plans in place for when that happens.

A lot of the work we’ve been doing as staff has been remote with the occasional Zoom get-together,” said Nick. “Obviously, Glyn is the one who has been putting it all together. Chris (McConnell, Sports Scientist), ‘Dougy’ and others – those closer to actually what’s going to happen when we return to training – have been working incredibly hard. We’ve just had to find other ways of looking at the restart. That involves adhering to the government guidelines and the EFL guidelines.

“The benefit we’ve all got is that clubs at our level, those play-off sides, have gone through that process, so a lot of the learning has been done already and that’s helped us out. The challenge prior to finishing the league as it happened was that we had very little control at that point and that was the hard part in terms of planning and preparing.

"We had to make tough decisions on players, including younger ones from the academy, and also knowing who we could bring in. We are nearly there, it could be a matter of days before we know (when we can return to training) and then we can go all guns blazing to get the team as well prepared as we possibly can and give it our best shot, as we always do.”

In his extensive interview, Nick also talks about balancing the need for senior players with the objective of blooding more home-grown players. You can watch the full interview with Nick by clicking on the link below.

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