Morecambe boss relishes the challenge ahead

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The hard work has started as Derek Adams embarks upon his third stint as Morecambe manager.

His return to the Mazuma Mobile Stadium was confirmed at the start of the week, having agreed a rolling contract in coming back to the Shrimps.

It was fewer than seven months since the man regarded as the greatest boss in Morecambe’s history left for an ill-fated spell with Ross County.

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He is now back at a Shrimps set-up which has a considerable amount to do, on and off the pitch.

Derek Adams met the media in midweek after completing his return as Morecambe manager (photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard)Derek Adams met the media in midweek after completing his return as Morecambe manager (photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard)
Derek Adams met the media in midweek after completing his return as Morecambe manager (photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard)
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Derek Adams ready for the challenge ahead at Morecambe

Off it, there is an HMRC-related embargo to be settled, as well as an owner who reportedly wants to sell the club but hasn’t managed to do that in 21 months.

On it, this season’s retained list leaves Adams with a skeleton playing staff to bolster ahead of their return to training on July 1, as well as arrange pre-season friendlies and bring in reinforcements to the coaching set-up.

Speaking to the media in midweek, Adams said: “I haven’t started (recruitment) yet, I’ve got my budget and I’ll work out how we’re going to distribute the budget between the players and then go forward from there.

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Derek Adams ruled out a return this season for John McMahon, his former assistant at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium (photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)Derek Adams ruled out a return this season for John McMahon, his former assistant at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium (photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
Derek Adams ruled out a return this season for John McMahon, his former assistant at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium (photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

“Just the other day, I contacted 150 agents. That’s a starting block because I need to find out what’s out there and then take it from there and go forward, and see if they can fit into the style of play that I want – mentally, physically and personality as well.”

That business is being conducted as the club looks to come out of its embargo, imposed earlier this year.

According to the EFL website, clubs under embargo can ‘staff up’ during a transfer window to have 23 players on their books.

The ‘staff up’ process means they can sign players who aren’t registered with another club or loanees, though the payment of loan fees or an additional wage on top of a loanee’s existing salary is prohibited.

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Clubs can only register players until the end of the coming season, while loanees can only be for half a season.

Nevertheless, the building of a squad – almost from scratch – is something which the Morecambe boss relishes.

Adams said: “We understand the rules that are in place, we understand that the football club are in a process of getting that embargo lifted in whatever time frame that is.

“We can still go about signing players at this moment in time because we’re working under a restriction.

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“It (rebuilding) is something I enjoy because you’re able to take in your own players, own personalities, and I think that’s important – not only for me as a person but as a coach as well, to see them improve.

“What I say to a player is ‘Come here, improve, move on because you’ve done well for the football club and you’ve done well for yourself.’

“It’s about developing football players. You look at Adam Mayor, we took him out of the Academy and we sold him on for a profit.

“That’s what it’s about and I think that this football club can go from strength to strength.”

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With recruitment in mind, while Adams might be back as Morecambe’s front man, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be putting the rest of his former band back together.

The club’s retained list, published last month, showed four of his signings – Farrend Rawson, Donald Love, David Tutonda and Joel Senior – had turned down contract offers.

Another nine – Adam Smith, Jacob Bedeau, Chris Stokes, Max Melbourne, Jacob Davenport, Yann Songo’o, Jake Taylor, Cammy Smith and Jordan Slew – were among 12 players who weren’t offered contracts.

Adams also ruled out the likelihood of John McMahon returning for another spell as assistant manager, as well as a comeback for the former head of recruitment Greg Strong, with whom he worked at Plymouth Argyle, Morecambe and Ross County.

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“I wouldn’t discount it,” the manager said when asked whether some of those released players might join him in making a return.

“What they have done at this football club, they have done very well, and they will probably get very good offers somewhere else.

“It might be difficult to have the quantity we would like but that’s always the case and it’s about generating the next group of players into the team.

“Greg is at Ross County and John won’t be returning to his role this season.

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“We’ve got a number of areas that are free to do that (bring in new faces) and we will do that over the coming weeks.”

One thing Adams couldn’t be accused of is being unwilling to try new things, particularly in the process of recruitment.

After leaving Ross County earlier this year, he used LinkedIn to advertise the fact he was looking for a first-team coach, a fitness and conditioning coach and an analyst to join him for his next role.

“I was very surprised how many people want a job in football,” he said of the response.

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“At this moment in time, I’m going about my business to do that.

“We’ve got staff already at the football club but we’ve got a number of positions that we need to fill before the start of the season.

“It’s surprising the number of people that want an opportunity. You’ve got to remember there are only 92 clubs in the league system in England and there’s a lot of people wanting to work in football.

“As a person, as a leader, you have to think out of the box at times and have to take risks – and that’s what you have to do as a manager when you’re assembling a team and playing on a Saturday.

“The risk is that you get someone from a position that you’re surprised was wanting to apply for it.”