NIGEL CLIBBENS confirmed Mark Robins wasn’t the biggest name Town could have appointed as manager, but he firmly believes he’s the best.
The 43-year-old former Coventry City boss began work on a rolling contract yesterday with a brief to save Town from relegation and lay Championship foundations which aren’t totally dependent on chairman Dean Hoyle’s cheque book.
Chief executive Clibbens says Robins – top out of 70-odd contenders (some serious, some not) – will be backed with cash to make loans if necessary for this season’s run-in.
But while Town are “totally confident” they’ve got a “driven and ambitious” manager who can lift them from 18th, three points above the relegation zone, Clibbens insists Robins is the ideal fit for the owner’s longer-term ambitions.
“We have a short-term issue in that we are at the wrong end of the table, there’s no hiding from it, and our top priority is dealing with that situation,” said Clibbens, who says Robins may bring in one more staff member alongside first-team coach Steve Taylor.
“Obviously we want to get away from the bottom as soon as we can by putting points on the board, then in the medium term we look at consolidation in the Championship and improving the depth of the squad, improving the quality of the squad and also the assets we have in the squad.
“At the same time, we want to continue developing our Academy and the Canalside training ground project and after that you never can tell – but we have to keep trying to improve year on year.
“You can’t just say you are going to win games, you have to have the building blocks in place in your club which help you win games.
“So the preparation of good players, the analysis and the sports science must all come together to provide a platform for winning games – and we believe Mark is the man who can achieve all that as our manager.”
Applicants included “household names” with Premier League experience, but Clibbens explained why Town triggered Coventry’s five-figure release clause in his Ricoh Arena contract to make Robins their fifth permanent manager in just under as many years.
“Mark may not be as big a name as some of those who were put forward – we had people of Premier League experience right down to young lads who were experts on Football Manager – but it’s not about your name or your reputation, it’s about whether you have the ability needed for the challenges you face and Mark is the right man for the job,” said Clibbens.
“We could have picked bigger, more well-known names, but we didn’t think they would do the job we needed.”
Three games in seven days, starting with Sunday’s home FA Cup clash with top-flight Wigan Athletic (3.55), mean former Rotherham and Barnsley boss Robins has to hit the ground running. Clibbens has no doubts he will.
“We will do all we can to achieve the short-term objective of getting up the league, but it’s not all about spending more money on more players,” he explained.
“As has been shown by Mark Lillis and Steve Eyre, the first thing is to get the maximum out of the players you’ve already got and, once you’ve done that, you can start to improve things from there.
“The days have gone when you can parachute a whole team in, they re-invent the club and then six months later they’re all gone and you start again.
“We have to operate in a different way than that, and the important thing is that whether Mark moves on in six months or six years there is a structure left behind him to carry on the good work. That’s what we are about.”