Extra time can help Derek Adams achieve Bradford City promotion aims

AT his unveiling as Bradford City’s new manager on Friday, Derek Adams spoke about having a ‘head start’ in comparison to when he took over at one of his former clubs in Plymouth Argyle in the summer of 2015.

A man clearly with an eye for detail, the Scot recalled joining Argyle – a sleeping lower-division giant in need of being revived just as the Bantams currently are now – on June 11 of that year and having the benefit of a week’s extra time as he embarks on his latest managerial venture which bares striking similarities.

In truth, Adams – who was interviewed for the City post in December – has afforded himself a fair bit longer.

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In his winter discussions with Bantams chief executive officer Ryan Sparks, the 45-year-old spoke not just about targets in the forthcoming New Year transfer window and even the Bantams’ end-of-season retained list, but also players whom he wanted to target to bring to the club in the close season if he arrived then.

Potential target: Morecambe's Cole Stockton.

His move to the club came later, but it has at least enabled City to plan ahead accordingly with Adams to work closely alongside recruitment director Lee Turnbull to bring in the calibre of player and character he wants as he seeks to instigate the fifth promotion of his managerial career.

He is not ruling out bringing in players from the club he has just left in Morecambe either.

One player heavily linked is striker Cole Stockton, out of contract with the Shrimps, with City also said to be keen on ex-Salford player Oscar Threlkeld, who worked with Adams at Plymouth.

Adams said: “You need to have recruitment. Speaking to Lee on Friday morning, I outlined the players and positions I would like to address and what we need to strengthen.

Planning: Derek Adams.

“Over the coming days and weeks, we will do that.

“It is important you all have ideas of players I think can adapt to the system of play we have and can come in and do well.

“Lee will have obviously watched games as well and he’ll put players to me and then the final decision comes down to me.”

On the prospect of players who have worked with him before joining the club, he added: “It could potentially happen. If they have done well for me in the past and I think they could do well for me here, then there is nothing to say I won’t do that.

“We have 14 players under contract, which is good and obviously have to add to that in the transfer window. We are in a situation where a lot of players will be coming out of contract and it is my job to identify what we need to get ourselves into a better position.

“I look at the squad and we have a nucleus of a good one. We obviously have to add to that, there is no doubt about that.

“But there are players who are very good to get us out of this division and I think we can bring in players who can complement the ones here.”

Single-minded and someone who clearly knows what he wants, Adams is a focused figure who is driven in his desire to turn around the fortunes of the club he has just joined.

Someone who shares those same characteristics was City’s last truly successful manager in Phil Parkinson, a similarly intense figure and leader.

If Adams follows that same mantra to success, then no-one of a claret-and-amber persuasion will be complaining.

“Phil did a magnificent job for this football club with his style of play, his winning style of play,” Adams continued.

“We all know the runs his side went on, even in the FA Cup as well. That it something we have to try and get back to and that is what I am here to try and do. We know the pressures involved and no-one has to tell me that.

“It’s about adapting and trying to get the better of your opposition to be successful.

“My time at Plymouth and Morecambe has shown that. Even in the play-off final, we started 4-2-3-1 and went to 3-4-1-2 and then back to 4-2-3-1. At Plymouth, we did exactly the same.”

Due to return in his native Scotland for a short break, rest assured that Adams’s workaholic tendencies will still be kicking in.

As he rightly points out, no football manager worth his salt ever truly has a holiday where they can get away from it all. That is not how it goes in modern-day management.

With just 14 players under contract for next season, City need to fill holes in their squad before re-convening for pre-season.

Chief executive Sparks expects the lines of communication from north of the border to be constant, with the make-up of Adams’s backroom team to also be addressed in the coming weeks.

Sparks said: “The rest will be in inverted commas and I think the phone will be white-hot.

“But he knows what he wants and the benefit is that he knows what he needs to get and I am not going to tell Derek how to build a promotion-winning squad.

“He doesn’t need a user manual and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next three to four weeks as we roll into pre-season.”

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