What US Portsmouth can offer potential arrivals as new boss Fraser Quirke welcomes squad back for pre-season

New US Portsmouth boss Fraser Quirke acknowledged it may take until the season is under way for him to get a ‘fully settled squad’.

By Lewis Mason
Friday, 24th June 2022, 10:53 am
New US Portsmouth boss Fraser Quirke Picture: Dave Bodymore
New US Portsmouth boss Fraser Quirke Picture: Dave Bodymore

But he reckons the draw of development opportunities for players and the chance to play regularly at Wessex League Premier level could become a real attraction for those on the fringes elsewhere as pre-season progresses.

Quirke, appointed Tom Grice's successor following his resignation earlier this summer, knows he is unable to compete with neighbouring PO postcode and high-end Wessex Premier clubs for the top calibre of talent.

With USP working without a playing budget, the newly named boss understands he has to be shrewd with recruitment this summer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

However, Quirke, who welcomed back his squad for pre-season training this week, insists the club can become a draw for players from across the area should they want to work and progress their games under A-licence head coach Henry Millington and assistant manager Stevie Dalton.

‘I understand how local football works, how the machine rolls, and where the cog of United Services sits in that machine,’ said Quirke.

‘As other teams evolve through their pre-season, I'm sure I'll be adding a few to my squad when players realise they don't fit in at other places. That's the reality of where I am at the moment.

‘It could be zero or it could be as high as six, seven or eight (new additions), but each one will be welcome to come down.

‘I think, being realistic, three or four will walk through the door (new signings) - that might not even be in pre-season - some of it might take until the end of August or the end of September to realise their current club isn't quite delivering exactly what they thought they were going to get.

‘We'll still be there with our development head on and our offer of opportunity. It may take a little while to evolve to a fully settled squad.’

Quirke is happy with the coaching set up he has formed since arriving, although he is on the lookout for a further backroom staff addition.

Player-assistant manager from last season Tom Jeffes has moved to Horndean while Frankie Paige opted on a switch to PO postcode Wessex Premier rivals Baffins Milton Rovers this summer.

Quirke added: ‘We are looking to add one more, really, either a B-licence coach or someone working towards their B-licence. I feel like I've got a good backroom staff now but one more would really be the ideal.

‘What I'm keen to work on this season is developing younger players, developing players who may have stagnated elsewhere but, more importantly, giving them an opportunity to play at step 5.’