Michael O’Neill spent a couple of hours yesterday assessing potential Stoke City transfer targets – even if he admits it might prove a futile process.
It had been much non-stop for O’Neill since taking charge of Stoke last November until the season and world came to a crushing halt earlier this month.
But this isn’t the pause he wanted with so much uncertainty surrounding, as the manager listed, when or if the season re-starts, how it will finish and how that affects transfer windows and contracts.
“I suppose the little break in time has been quite good for me in a way,” he said.
“From the minute I came in the door we were straight into games and never had a break at all.
“A lot of my understanding of the club, I suppose, getting to know who the people in the Academy are, for example, I’ve not had a real opportunity to do that because I’ve just been dealing with games all the time. The position of the club, our priority has been to make sure we get three points all the time. That’s been our only priority.
“We are now starting to look at planning, looking at staff, at areas of the club where you can possibly improve. It’s a little bit futile at the minute because the landscape when we come out of this might be very different – how it looks financially for clubs and what players may or may not be available or may or may not want to stay.
“Those are all decisions that until we come through this scenario we won’t know in any great detail.
“There is also the complications of when the season, if it starts, when it will finish – how it affects transfer windows and players’ contracts and everything. We’re spending a lot of time – I spent a couple of hours today (Thursday) watching various players that have been recommended to us through the recruitment team – and that’s something we’ve not had a lot of time to do.
“But there’s only so much we can do to be honest because until we come through this situation we won’t know where the club stands and what we need going forward.”