7:00am Saturday 26th November 2011
By Neil Perrett
Cherries boss Lee Bradbury insists his players will remain united as he wrestles with managing one of the biggest squads in the club’s history.
Bradbury’s numbers were this week boosted to 35 following the big-money signing of defender Charlie Daniels from League One rivals Leyton Orient.
The 25-year-old, who is understood to have commanded a fee of around £175,000, will spice up competition for places among a burgeoning squad at the Seward Stadium.
Daniels agreed a lucrative three-and-a-half year deal and will join Wes Thomas and Simon Francis in making his loan move permanent when the transfer window reopens in January.
His arrival brings to 12 the number of new signings made by Bradbury in the past five months as the Cherries squad has undergone a major overhaul since last season.
The 35-strong group includes four first-year professionals, four loan signings and three loan-to-permanent additions, while Jayden Stockley and Gary Bowles are both out on loan.
It is understood rookies Paddy Hester, Dan Strugnell and Alex Parsons sometimes train with the youth team to reduce numbers during first-team sessions at Canford School.
Cherries are also believed to be taking steps to manage their numbers more effectively by introducing a development squad to help bridge the gap between youth and first team.
Although a request to interview Bradbury was declined by the club on Thursday, the Daily Echo spoke to the Cherries boss about his squad numbers following the win at Wycombe.
He said: “We have got a big squad in numbers but have got loan players whose time is coming up, first-year pros who have not been involved and Jayden is on loan.
“With the injuries we have got, when you actually look at the numbers I have got available week in, week out, I have probably got 18 to 20.”
Player ineligibility forced Bradbury to shuffle his pack for both games against Gillingham in the first round of the FA Cup with Michael Symes and Stephane Zubar both dropped for the league clash at Adams Park.
Asked if he were losing any sleep over his selection process, Bradbury replied: “It is difficult but I am not losing any sleep over it. I put a lot of thought into it and have got to make sure I make the right decisions. It is something I take very seriously because I need to keep the lads onside and committed to the club.
“If the lads started becoming a problem then I would have to address it but they haven’t, they have been great. It is my job to keep everybody pulling in the same direction and working hard for each other.”
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