Town’s track record a selling point, says McClelland

editorial image

Chief scout Gareth McClelland says Town’s record of developing young talent is a strong selling point to transfer targets.

Six players have joined Town so far this summer, including Macclesfield striker Scott Boden and Tamworth winger Richard Peniket.

The Shaymen have helped a conveyor belt of players progress into the Football League in recent years, including Jamie Vardy, Dan Gardner and Liam and Scott Hogan.

Lee Gregory was the latest name on that list after his move up the league ladder to Millwall following a sparkling season for the Shaymen as they finished in the play-off places.

McClelland says prospective signings have been impressed by the club’s track record of nurturing talent.

“It’s a really good selling point because the number of young players we are progressing and getting into the Football League,” he said.

“The likes of Liam Hogan, Jamie Vardy, Dan Gardner - the list goes on.

“Neil has a really good eye for players and he wants younger, hungry players in their early 20’s that have ambition.

“They are really impressed with the football we played, and also with the home record and the stadium.

“They can see the good work Neil’s done and there have been a lot of positive comments being made about the management team.

“But as a club we always want to move to that next level too.

“I think we can do as well as last season if not better.”

The former Mossley manager revealed he receives 20 to 30 emails per day during the close season from players based in America, Australia and Africa.

However, McClelland admits unearthing hidden gems like Lois Maynard and Marc Roberts is becoming more of a challenge.

He said: “It’s even more difficult now because of the agents involved. A lot of the negotiation goes through them which hasn’t happened in previous years.

“So you need to agree terms with the club then get the player’s agreement but the better players are usually getting more options (of other clubs).

“Continually through the season we are identifying players that have impressed us.

“But you’ve got to remember we’re part-time and with so many full-time clubs in the Conference it’s difficult.

“I think geography is important too but there aren’t many northern teams in the Conference so that’s an advantage for us.

“We did really well with those two (Maynard and Roberts) but it’s getting more and more difficult

“Other clubs offer more money than us but they can have bigger squads and don’t offer regular games to help players progress.

“But the manager has been patient with them as well. Everyone can see their development to where they finished up at the end of last season.

“I think (Maynard) is the best midfielder in the league. He’s so athletic and he does it for 90 minutes.

“Considering he was playing the North West Counties League this time last year he’s done so well.”

McClelland says detailed research goes into possible new signings before putting pen to paper.

He said: “A lot of hard work goes in between myself, the chairman and the manager.

“The recruitment side is about getting as much information as you possibly can.

“What their lifestyle is, what their home life is like, how they behaved at previous clubs. A lot of research goes into it.

“You want that work ethic - that’s got to be there every game.

“They’ve got to be team players and they’ve got to suit our system.

“A player has got to be watched four or five times at the very least because they can have a good game, a bad game and an average game so you need to build up a picture.”