Ross County manager Malky Mackay has outlined why he thinks it is vital for the club to have a loans manager after Carl Tremarco recently took on the role in Dingwall.
A summer shake-up to the development department at the Global Energy Stadium saw Tremarco take on the position of head of professional academy and loans.
A group of talented County rising stars are finding their feet out on loan this season – with Matthew Wright, Ryan MacLeman and Connall Ewan at League Two Elgin City, Andrew MacLeod flourishing at Highland League side Nairn County, Zach Macphee at Clachnacuddin, and Logan Ross at Brora Rangers.
For Mackay, having a loans manager is crucial role in the club accurately monitoring and assessing what the best next step is for those players – whether they are elevated to County’s first-team squad, sent back out on loan or moved on.
Former SFA performance manager Mackay said: “It was something I spoke about at the Scottish FA, to all the Premiership clubs, concerning the money that is put into funding academies at football clubs.
“The bit between them becoming adults and first-team players, or going away to become footballers at other clubs, there still seemed to be a bit of a ‘fingers crossed, hopefully that period is okay.’
“I have spoken before about the pathway for players, whether it’s B teams, reserve leagues or out on loan at clubs.
“There is no one-size-fits-all to that. But the club itself has to have a process, and people at each level where there is communication. That should happen, but a lot of the time it doesn’t happen at clubs.
“It’s a process of whether players stay in, go out, who they go out to and what level they go to, how their journey looks, where they go next, are they sold, or do they come into the first-team squad.
“All those questions are the reason there needs to be a loans manager.”
Tracking progress of every player
Tremarco doubles up first-team coaching duties with his main job at the club, with Mackay lifting the lid on County’s process for analysing how their young players are progressing out on loan.
He said: “Carl is doing that (loans manager work), along with the job he’s already doing.
“He will speak to the (loan) player and a member of staff at the (loan) club after the Saturday game.
“He has then got a process where he files a report and sends it to (Staggies club secretary) Fiona (MacBean). That then goes to me on a Monday and I see everything that has happened.
“It will show what the club think of how he did at the weekend, what his minutes were, how he played, and feedback from the boy himself.
“Carl will go to one of the games as well.”
Mackay thinks this process of tracking their young loanees helps County fulfil their duty of care to the players, and to steer their careers in the most suitable way, adding: “It’s an extra little marker down as to how we can improve these young guys, to give them the best chance to either play here, or play professional football somewhere else.
“It’s our duty to do that – because if you invest in these players and ask them to become part of your academy, with all the criteria attached to it and all the things they can’t do because you’ve taken them through their journey, it’s our obligation to do the next bit, and there’s nothing better than seeing players that we know playing professional football.
“They might not be with me here, it could be somewhere else.
“If I see the player getting a big move, or playing for Scotland, it’s the best thing ever.”