After several weeks of speculation, still no confirmation as yet that Jose Riga won't be given a chance to continue the promising work he started after Powell's sacking. He doesn't appear to have a job lined-up under RD either and has been linked, surprisingly in my opinion, with managerial positions at Fulham and Blackpool. Given his career thus far you would imagine a shot at Fulham would be too good to resist. His replacement by Bob Peeters hasn't been confirmed yet either, although it looks odds-on following the leak to Rich Cawley in the SLP who seems to get the scoop on everything these days. Peeters has at least resigned from his current job, so presumably that's just a matter of time. The anonymous Karel Fraye has also moved on to a lower league Belgian side without fanfare, although he has had a very low-key role supporting Jose Riga.
After the anticipated player clear out, two key questions remain about the futures of Michael Morrison and Diego Poyet. Neither were mentioned in the cull so it would look like offers are out there. Poyet's decision will probably be more about development of his career although it's no foregone conclusion that he wouldn't get an offer from a bigger club who would commit to giving him first-team playing time. Perhaps not one of the biggest clubs but he might expect to play for a club like Sunderland where he could also be making significantly more money than he will be paid at the Valley. Michael Morrison, on the other hand, needs a decent extension and a pay rise. He will have seen Stephens, Kermogant, Dervite and Hamer all achieve that and should be confident he can get the same. That might price him out of RD's bracket. Frankly, he's been treated poorly and if I were him, I would only consider staying if Charlton's offer was the best I could get.
That said, we look like we will need to search for the following first team positions;
Defence; a first choice pairing of centre-halves. Our defence saved us from relegation last season and we will need to hit the ground running in August with the new pairing. We need two experienced and competent signings, one of whom needs to be a leader and a talker. Harry Lennon isn't sufficient back-up and we will need the likes of Wood or Cort to bolster the first choice signings.
Midfield; we can string a four together as things stand but I am not convinced Jackson can play in the middle week-in week-out without us being exposed. We need a better first choice with pace to support Cousins. Harriott and Wilson can both do jobs but we will need back-up.
Attack; we are left with four twenty-minuters in my opinion and we need two goal-scorers if we are to avoid a repeat of last season. By goal-scorers I mean a pair capable of netting 30 between them. I would like to seen some genuine aerial threat and some pace, both of which might galvanise our attacking play from midfield. Given our current wage structure, Duchatelet's stated plan and the quality we have seen thus far from the Network, this looks the biggest challenge of all.
It is still only May but I am hoping we see a series of signings and intent during June. If they do that, then there will be little need to reassure supporters that their model is designed to take the club forward. No-one wants simply to exist to develop youth that can be cashed-in as soon as possible, particularly if we aren't seeing the full benefit of the money they generate. As a supporter and a Valley Gold member, I want to see our best home-grown players breaking into the first team and contributing for a season or two at least before moving upwards if they are good enough. It's also good business sense to hold on and build bigger transfer fees with your best players. RD might want the club to break-even but he does at least have the funds not to have to sell early.