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Interviews

Alexander on McDonald appointment and more

4 January 2018

United boss Graham Alexander feels new assistant manager Neil McDonald will help provide the right support to the players, the rest of the coaching staff and himself.

Club News

Neil McDonald joins the Iron as assistant manager

4 January 2018

The 52-year-old joined on Thursday morning, departing his role as manager of League of Ireland Premier Division club Limerick, and has known the Iron boss for a long time.

Alexander provided his reaction to the appointment of Chris Lucketti’s replacement, Paddy Madden and loanee Devonte Redmond departing the club, and also gave an update on the player recruitment process to iFollow Iron.

ON McDONALD’S APPPOINTMENT…
GA:
Since Chris (Lucketti) left, it’s left a slight void in our staffing. It was important I took my time to make the right decision, but I wanted to focus on the players, the team and the results. This window (without a game) has given us the opportunity to get things nailed down. I gave it a lot of a thought because it was important we brought in the right person to work alongside me, and to also work with the other staff too and give us what we need. I spoke to a couple of people, and I spoke to Neil, who I’ve known for a long time. I felt it was a great opportunity for me to bring in someone who would work extremely well with everyone here, and who has vast experience at a high level. I know his character and personality. For me as a manager, I’m extremely lucky that I have people like Neil, (first team coach) Nick Daws and (goalkeeping coach) Paul Musselwhite around me to help do this job, because I know how difficult it is, but you can only do it with good people around you. I feel, from bringing Macca in, that I have a good ring of people around me who support me, support the players and tick all the boxes we need.

"I felt it was a great opportunity for me to bring in someone who would work extremely well with everyone here, and who has vast experience at a high level. I know his character and personality."

Graham Alexander, manager

ON THE PROCESS…
GA:
In your career in football you work with different people and it’s important you realise what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you need to do to fill in the gaps. We needed to bring in another staff member, without a doubt. I feel this is the right decision, and speaking to Macca over the last few weeks I really felt he was very enthusiastic about the role, he could see what the club was doing and couldn’t wait to get started. He’ll get to know everybody as quickly as possible, without the pressure of a game immediately. When we get to the Portsmouth game (on January 13th), he’ll have been here a week and a half and will be settled in.

Videos

📹 iFollow: Graham Alexander reacts to Neil McDonald appointment

4 January 2018

ON THEIR RELATIONSHIP…
GA:
When I first joined Preston, he was a youth coach at the time. He’d just finished playing, because I played against him the year before. I just got to know him over those years. He moved on to Bolton, but I still bumped into him now and then. When I was out of work, I was with him at Blackpool for a week and saw how he did things and how professional he was. He’s worked with some quality clubs and managers over the last 15-20 years. I think it helps the club get better, me get better, the players get better, and I’m really excited about how we’re all going to work together.

ON PADDY MADDEN’S EXIT…
GA:
It was a difficult one really, with what Paddy had done for this club in the past, scoring a lot of goals. He’s had a tough time though, this season especially, in the goalscoring stakes and has been out of the team. A player like that needs to be playing week-in week-out to be successful, and that wasn’t going to happen here unless he turned the form around. He would have been out of contract in the summer, and I just felt it was a good one for everyone, and a good one especially for Paddy, who will get the zest again going to a new club and having to prove himself there. It works well for us, as in we’re going to try and recruit in January. It’s part of football, it’s how the game evolves. We wish Paddy all the best with his new club.

ON TRYING TO BRING PLAYERS IN…
GA:
With us having a couple of days’ break from training, it’s given us the chance to speak to and meet a couple of people so that’s going to be ongoing. Hopefully we can bring one or two players in. It’s obvious we need a little bit of strengthening, especially with a couple outgoing as well. Devonte Redmond has returned to Manchester United. His loan ends at the weekend but we haven’t got a game, so he’s gone back. We thank him for his contribution while with us and wish him well for the future. We also thank Manchester United for letting him come here. There are a couple of spaces in the squad that we need to improve with quality if we can, so that work is ongoing. Until it’s over the line and the pen is in the player’s hand, it’s difficult to talk about individuals. Hopefully we’ll get the right ones in, who can help us improve if we can. A couple of new faces always reinvigorates and brings a fresh dynamic to the group without changing what we’re doing, which is the important thing. The squad have worked extremely well, got good results and we’re in a strong position but we know, if we want to be competing at the top end of the table come the end of the season, we need to improve if we can.

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