Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gormley putting his faith in young Seagulls

When Bray Wanderers return for pre-season training on January 16th, there will be changes aplenty.
The first team squad has seen an almost complete overhaul, while the backroom staff has also seen significant change from the 2009 season.
Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Jake Kelly, Dave Webster and Dave O’Neill are the only remaining first team players from last season’s squad, meaning that not a single Bray player will be over the age of 20 when the new season kicks off. But the changes to the squad were inevitable according to Bray boss Eddie Gormley.
‘Well obviously finances dictate the kind of squad we’re going to have’, explained Gormley.
‘I know we had a young squad last year, but it’ll be even younger this year. They’re good players, we just have to work hard with them in training and do the best we can with what we’ve got.’
Seagulls fans would like to see some players with more experience brought in to help give some guidance to the youngsters, but once again the lack of finances look set to put paid to that.
‘Well obviously you’d like to mix and match (youth and experience) but unfortunately we don’t have the finances to do that. We’d like a few more experienced players but it doesn’t look like we have the money to go out and get them. Obviously it’s going to be difficult in the short term, these aren’t experienced players but in the long term, it’s about bringing young players through and that’s what we’ll try and do.’
People were quick to write off UCD’s chances of promotion last season when they followed the same path and put their faith in youth only to see the Students go on to win the First Division, but does Gormley believe his side could follow in the Dublin side’s footsteps?
‘Well I wouldn’t go into the season saying I’m not going to get promoted. It’ll be difficult for us, if we still had the squad from last year then I would’ve said yeah we’ve a very good chance of going straight back up but obviously it’s going to be a lot more difficult now because of the squad we’ve got together. But with young players it all depends on how you start the season and if you get them into the habit of winning games you never know what could happen.’
Gormley has often praised his youngsters in the past for their devil may care attitude, so perhaps having an entire squad with that mindset could be a positive.
‘If you look at the teams we put out on the pitch for the last three years they had never really gone out with that fear factor anyway. They’re told to go out and express themselves and that’ll be no different this year, we‘ll go out, we’ll try and play positive football and try and win as many games as we possibly can.
‘At this particular time we haven’t signed anybody (with experience). Our most experienced players from last year would be David O’Neill, Dane Massey, Chris Shields, Dave Webster and Jake Kelly, and they’re all under 21. But they’re good players and sometimes as a player you have to step up to the mark and they’ll have to do that next year.’
O’Neill, Massey Shields et al were lucky to have League of Ireland legends ‘Bo’ McKeever and Paul Osam coaching them during the 2008 season, but the duo, as well as Eddie Wallace, have now all left the club.
And another old head whose knowledge of the game helped the youngsters out was Colm Tresson. Tresson announced his retirement in the aftermath of the play-off defeat to Sporting Fingal but Gormley is hoping to persuade the club’s record appearance to dust off the boots for a final year.
‘He’s the type of player I’d be hoping might stay on another year. At the moment he’s retired but we’ll have a little chat and see what happens.’