Ross County manager Malky Mackay says he is prepared to show patience in order to ensure his summer rebuild brings the best results for the Staggies next season.
County’s players will report back to Victoria Park for fitness tests today, ahead of the start of pre-season training on Monday.
The Staggies only have 14 first team played signed for the new campaign, after 10 players were moved on at the end of last season.
Former Hamilton Accies midfielder Ross Callachan is Mackay’s only fresh recruit so far, and although the new boss knows his squad is far from complete he is keen to take his time to make sure he makes the correct additions.
In an interview with RCFCTV, Mackay said: “There were a number who left, so we really need to bring in a number of players to fill out the squad.
“That is going to take a little bit of time. It’s a different situation when there are so many players to start off with.
“I think we can look at that in a positive sense that we have a clean sheet of paper and we need to grow the squad, and the youthfulness and energy of it.
“That brings its challenges in having to find those players, but I think it’s something we have to do over time. We’ve got to make sure we do this in the correct manner.
“I could go out and sign 10 players tomorrow, but they wouldn’t be right for our club.
“Over the next four to six weeks we need to try and find the best player we can. There are a lot of phonecalls to agents and clubs at the moment.”
Mackay says the large number of players out of contract due to the Covid-19 pandemic makes it all the more important he bides his time, while he also expects more loan players to become available following the conclusion of Euro 2020.
He added: “We have a situation now in the UK where there are 500 or 600 players out of contract right now.
“Because of situations that are out of everyone’s control, in terms of Covid, there are lots of clubs who will be cutting their cloth and will not be having as big squads.
“There will be players who thought they would be playing at a certain level who will not be.
“We’ve got to make sure we hold our nerve and try to find the best players we can.
“Similarly, because of the Euros, a lot of clubs who would be giving out loan players will be holding on to them to fill their pre-season squad. When the internationals come back, that’s when players will be released out.
“It’s not ideal for starting pre-season, but if we look at the longer term for the whole season we want to make sure we get the correct players in.”
Mackay unveiled his new look backroom team earlier this week, with Don Cowie promoted to assistant manager and former Staggies midfielder Stuart Taylor brought in as first team coach.
Enda Barron has also been drafted in to oversee data analysis and recruitment, having previously worked with Mackay at Cardiff City as well as having spells with Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town.
Mackay says Barron will have an important role in the club’s long-term strategy, adding: “Enda Barron will come in as head of data analysis and recruitment.
“Enda worked with me before, and I think the way the game is going it’s more and more important there are structures at football clubs for analysis and recruitment.
“We need to have a situation where we plan ahead in terms of the players we bring into the club.
“If we are going to be asking to spending the club’s money on players, we need to do everything we can to make sure the players we get in are the correct players for Ross County and an asset to the club.
“We need to build this department and we’ve got Enda starting that off at the moment.”