Sturrock slams squad size as reserve league 'laughable'
Southend United manager Paul Sturrock follows up Tara Brady's comments about the large size of the Shrimpers squad, but not because of the dosh, there's no where to play them all! Sturrock: 'The important job is to prune this squad down to a number that I think will be competitive' Blues boss Paul Sturrock had a busy summer signing six players, but that's left him with 29 pro players on the books, something he agrees with club CEO Tara Brady that the Shrimpers squad has to be reduced. Not helped by this season's Combination reserve league that due to withdrawals, it's tough out there, had led to just five teams playing eight matches, hopefully there will be a cup competition as well and the odd extra fixture arranged, look out for the odd 'behind closed doors' job. Sturrock told BBC Essex: "The important job is to prune this squad down to a number I think will be competitive. The young boys are going to stagnate. It's important I put everybody out (on loan) that I can. Five teams in the reserve league gives you eight games in the season. It's laughable. You are not promised friendlies either." Strikers Matt Paterson and Harry Crawford may help cut the size down with Harry fancied by Conference side Kettering who have given him a friendly to play in, but Patters remains a problem, and his wages, as he has been sent back to Roots Hall. The latest on Blues Two's More than likely looking for new sponsor's, local kebab shop possibly? The financial belt is tightening all over the football league and it's certainly being felt in the Football Combination reserve league where 19 teams have pulled out from taking part in 2011/12. Blues boss Paul Sturrock though likes his sides to get second team footy and so, for all our financial problems, we remain in the eastern division with just four other clubs making a total of FIVE! Stand up Southend United, Colchester United, Stevenage, Oxford United and Luton Town, blimey, there will be even more gaps than usual inbetween games, tough on the squad not getting a regular start. Playing home and away Graham Coughlan's boys could only play eight games all season, though there will be an optional cup competition, however, there are no details on that yet. After the Combination's AGM on Tuesday it was discovered that only 29 teams from 72 Football League clubs would be taking part in some sort of structured reserve football during the next campaign, and that the number of teams actually entering the Combination would reduce from 30 clubs to 11. Peterborough United, I'm informed, pulled out on the night when they saw the small number actually competing, while a national league was a non-starter, Bradford City v Torquay may not prove to be much of an attraction while costing the Gulls a fortune in transport costs! It was not announced if Totesport are continuing their sponsorship of the competition but in the circumstances it's fair to say that's unlikely. Stiffs indeed. (Originally appeared in S24 June 15th, 2011)
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