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Manager Jim Gannon continues first team rebuilding for 2017/18

Posted: Thu 04 May 2017

County boss Jim Gannon has continued to reshape his squad this week as the club prepares for 2017/18.

With ten players already secured for next season, the manager believes he has "a strong core group of players" to build upon.

But he's also seeking "a major overhaul" of his attacking options.

Jim told County's official website: "The process of reshaping and reenergizing the first team squad for next season is a difficult process and the most mentally demanding time for a manager. A lot of decisions have to be made, and those decisions are important and have to be good to create the foundations for the future growth of the team and the further rebuilding of the club's football structures.
"Much work will be done in the coming weeks, but the process of building the squad for next season started many months ago.

"Throughout this season we have had a consistent group of players that have performed well and shown their potential for producing results at this level and improving on their own potential within the team.

"Back at the turn of the year we were pleased to announce the continued commitment into next season of Ben Hinchliffe, Sam Minihan, Michael Clarke and Lewis Montrose. In the spring we signed-up Connor Hampson, Harry Winter, Jimmy Ball and Ian Ormson to next season's squad, and with promising young players Scott Duxbury and Adam Etches already committed to next season (on their two year contracts) we have ten players already signed for next season.
"Our goalkeepers, defence and central midfield have been fairly solid and consistent throughout the season. The defensive strength in the team has meant we finished the season with the best defensive record in the League (including an outstanding defensive record away from home). This gives us confidence that we have a strong team structure and core group of players to build upon for next season. It is pleasing at this stage that the majority of that goalkeeping, defensive and central midfield backbone is committed for next season.
"The overall effectiveness and productivity of the team was very good last season. The players gained 73 points, which was an increase of 14 points on 2015/2016. It is the best haul of points gained at this level and brought us very close to a play-off place. However, we have fallen short of our season target of the play-offs and for us to improve we need to further strengthen our back four and have a major overhaul of the attacking side of the team. That improvement will come at a cost and, therefore, we have made the difficult decision at this stage to not offer further contracts to Mark Ross, Courtney Meppen-Walters, Ryan Ellison, John Marsden, Kayode Odejayi and Sefton Gonzales.  
"We expect to have further discussions with other contracted players at the club including Danny Lloyd, Chris Smalley, Max Cartwright, Harry Brazel, Adam Thomas, Josh Amis and George West about their futures at the club. We expect those conversations to be constructive and positive. Following the outcome of these talks the club will make a more formal statement regarding the retained and released players."
This weekend, we have our annual end-of-season dinner where supporters and sponsors are able to salute their Players of the Year and Goal of the Season. Jim says it will be a fitting celebration: "This Saturday we can honour the service of our staff and players for their season's work. But I would like to thank them publicly for everything they have done for us. They have been a real credit to themselves and the club. For those that leave we wish them well with the next steps in their careers, and for those that are staying we look forward to continuing this great journey together."

The players already signed for next season are:
Ben Hincliffe
Ian Ormson
Michael Clarke
Scott Duxbury
Sam Minihan
Connor Hampson
Lewis Montrose
Harry Winter
Jimmy Ball
Adam Etches

The club is in discussions with:
Josh Amis
Harry Brazel
Max Cartwright
Danny Lloyd
Chris Smalley
Adam Thomas
George West

The following players have been released:
Ryan Ellison
Sefton Gonzales
John Marsden
Courtney Meppen-Walters
Kayode Odejayi
Mark Ross