O'Neill: Great Opportunity For Gill
Monday, 1st Mar 2021 15:27
General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill believes taking caretaker charge of the Blues is a good opportunity for first-team coach Matt Gill to add to his experience and could perhaps even put him in with a shout of the role permanently, but if not he and goalkeeper-coach Jimmy Walker will remain at the club under the next boss.
O’Neill says the 40-year-old had no qualms about taking up the reins despite having been brought to the club by departing boss Paul Lambert.
“We had conversations with Matt this morning, he’s a great guy first of all,” O’Neill said. “Obviously the manager brought him in but we’ve all seen really good things in Matt, even over the last two or three weeks he’s really helped Paul with Stuart [Taylor] not being at the games through the situation at home.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to get some experience in that first team side of things, as in taking the matches right from the start.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. I have no doubt that all the players will continue to do what they’ve been doing under Matt’s leadership and guidance.”
Asked whether he believes the Accrington game will be Gill’s only in charge, O’Neill said: “Again, I can’t tell you the length of time. Obviously, these things take a bit of time when you’re appointing a manager.
“Matt, as I spoke to him this morning, is more than capable of taking that game tomorrow evening and on Saturday and the following week as well if we need to.
“If the manager is appointed by Marcus before then, then obviously he’ll be in place, but if not, like I said, Matt and Bryan Klug will run that programme Saturday, Tuesday for the upcoming games.”
Might Gill get himself into the running for the job on a permanent basis if he picks up some good results? “I think it’s a really good opportunity for Matt to show other people at the football club what he’s about.
“Again, everything is on the table at the moment and there’s been no new manager appointed.
“And he’ll be looking at it as an opportunity for himself to see what he’s doing, I know he’s very keen on his coaching and he’s doing a very good job with the players, so I’m sure he’ll see it as an opportunity, and other people will get to see how good he is in different aspects of his role.”
Goalkeeper-coach Walker also remains from Lambert’s management team, and O’Neill says he and Gill will continue to be at the club under the next manager.
“Those two members of staff, Matt and Jimmy Walker, are great for the club, really good characters doing very good in their own roles in different areas,” he said.
“I think it’s important for the football club to have stability in those roles and they are developing so they are people we would want at the football club. So whoever the new manager may be, they are part of the club structure going forward.”
Asked whether they’re happy with that, O’Neill joked: “If not, they wouldn’t have got on the bus [to Accrington]! They are on the bus, and they are very much involved with the football club going forward.”
Many people anticipated that U23s coaches Kieron Dyer and Terry Butcher would be offered the caretaker roles once Lambert departed and O’Neill says they and Gerard Nash could have a role to play if a new boss isn’t brought in immediately.
“I think obviously they only found out themselves on Sunday evening and that’s a short period of time,” he said.
“I think if things go on longer and they are in charge for more games, then those people that you’ve just mentioned may well come into it and offer their support into that environment.
“We haven’t got a lot of opportunity to go out and do a lot of training between the game on Saturday and playing on the Tuesday night, so we spoke to Matt and obviously Bryan just to offer that little bit of experience that Bryan has.
“Kieron has stuff to offer, so does Gerard and so do some of the other coaches like Terry, like you mentioned.
“So if it goes on for a little bit longer, then obviously, yes, those people will be available to help out, but it just depends on Marcus and the appointment of the manager.”
Asked whether Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan, who had been banished to the U23s, will be available again, O’Neill said: “They’ve been available. They’re both fit and ready to go, so they are both available if selected at the moment. Their situations have been well publicised over the last two or three weeks.
“Their situations will be looked at, whoever the new manager is coming in and obviously see what happens going forward.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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