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A MESSAGE TO FANS FROM PAUL STURROCK

30 August 2015

Having received many letters and emails from frustrated fans, I think its time to give an update and my opinion on our bad start to this season.
 
As I have said in the past, fans are the important ingredient to all football clubs. Nearly 500 fans travelled to Oxford after being buoyed by our performance against Luton Town the week before, only to be exasperated by the result and performance.
 
When I arrived home last night, I decided to view several of the games we have played this year. It didn’t take long to unmask the key problem; that being the individual mistakes by our young and inexperienced players and the inconsistency of our all round performance.
 
I then realised the key ingredient causing these problems was the lack of hardened professionals down the backbone of the team. I then studied most playing squads in our league and found that rebuilding squads this season at most League 2 clubs was done having a large amount of hardened pros from the season before. This meant they were strengthening their squad and not rebuilding from scratch.
 
I have worked tirelessly to bring a mix of youth and experience to our club. But rules and regulations have hindered our recruitment by only being allowed 55% of our turnover to be used. I think you can appreciate that our turnover lies in the bottom half of the turnover graph.
 
Having picked my targets for an experienced defender and forward, many of the candidates I had chosen were gobbled up by the offer of bigger wages. This has forced me to sign players with potential in those positions.
 
I must put my hand up here and take the blame for wanting my cake and eat it; wanting to have a larger squad with both types of players where instead a smaller squad with more experienced players might have been the better formula.
 
I believe the injury situation has kicked this club in the teeth. If we had Marc Laird, Kevin Dawson, Ben Tozer, Ryan Dickson and Wes Fogden available from the start, we would have as good a midfield as any in the league.
 
These players are three weeks away before being able to train. That is not playing, just building up their fitness. We have Jack Compton needing to play but is not 100% match fit and from the Oxford game we have Jakub Sokolik fracturing a bone in his wrist.
 
As a manager knowing that there is a competent team if we had all players fit is so frustrating. We must keep trying to improve the young bucks, who are going to be needed to play until the squad is healthy.
 
I plead with our fan base who are going to be frustrated to back them, they need you!
 
I have made mistakes in my selection, style of play and recruitment, but I can assure you I am totally committed to improving this club and I am appealing to you all to keep with us, we need you all!

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