Exeter City have strong core of players even before transfer window opens

Exeter City manager Gary Caldwell expects to have a strong core of players available when pre-season starts on June 20 which hopefully will include some new signings. The Grecians have 13 senior professionals already tied down for next season, in addition to seven youngsters who also have deals.

Contract discussions are ongoing with Zak Jules, Demetri Mitchell, Harry Lee, Caleb Watts and Tom Carroll, with Caldwell keen that all five of them sign up for another year at St James Park. And he is already working hard to add to the group with some new signings.

City have also worked to tie down players on extended deals, with Jack Aitchison signing an extension earlier this month, while Sonny Cox, Cheick Diabate, Shaun MacDonald and Yanic Wildschut all signed contracts in recent weeks. City also want Jules to sign a longer deal than just the one-year option the club are understood to have an option to trigger regardless.

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“That was the big challenge for us all at the club, to not just build a team for a season or one or two windows, but to build a team for the years to come,” Caldwell said. “Hence the signing of Jack to give him another year so he is set here, he knows what he has to do and is only focussed on his game and getting better.

“So, to have fourteen/fifteen contracted and hopefully we can add to this in the summer with players resigning, loan players potentially coming back and new signings. The more players we can get in the group that understand how we play is really important for how we progress as a football club.”

On the transfer window, the manager said: ““The expectation is always the same. To be better as a squad and to create more competition in the squad by the end of the window.

“At Exeter City we have to do it in a different way and be patient on how we do that. We can’t throw money at them early in the window to get them here. We have to get the right people who want to be here and that takes time and meeting with players and through that process the supporters have to be patient.

“I think they have always been pretty happy at the end of the window, even though we would all like it to be quicker, but I ask them again to show patience which I feel we are lucky that the supporters understand how we work.

“The big thing we look for is good people. Since I’ve been at the club, we have recruited well but the big thing is good people and last year was a perfect example of that, in that difficult period everyone stood together and kept working and supporting everyone and that is because we have really good characters at the club.

“On top of that we want good players and getting them in the building makes such a difference, when we had them to pick from in January it was a challenge to pick the team and the finishers and we created competition, so hopefully we will have that at the end of the window to really attack League One next season.

“I think it shows the strength of the staff we have at the club that no matter who we bring in, be it a young player or someone from non-league or older players like Ryan Woods and Tom Carroll, we can help these players either revive their career or help develop younger players and they are all coming to develop and help us improve and bring us forward.”

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