As I alluded to previously, Connah’s Quay have turned to former Manchester City player and Airbus assistant Andy Morrison to replace Allan Bickerstaff, who departed the club last month after a poor start to the season.
The Nomads announced his appointment as Director of Football last night and Morrison makes a welcome return back to Welsh football after departing Airbus last season where he served as Andy Preece’s number two.
The club’s official statement confirms that Morrison’s initial brief will be to steer the Nomads up into the top-half of the table before the January split and that popular caretaker manager Jay Catton will remain as part of the first-team management team under the role of ‘First-Team Manager’.
Andy Morrison clearly made a positive impression on Connah’s Quay chairman Gary Dewhurst during the recruitment process, who told the club’s official site:
We received over 30 applications for the new post and shortlisted the best six for interview. The standard was incredibly high and it was one of the toughest recruitment decisions I’ve been involved in.
Andy’s interview was outstanding in terms of his preparation and delivery as well as the desire and passion he showed for the role.
The winning mentality he helped to instil whilst at Airbus, added to his previous experience as a professional footballer, made him a stand out candidate and we were delighted he accepted our offer to lead the club forward alongside Jay.
Morrison now has an exciting project on his hands at a club who have clear ambitions to compete at the top end of the WPL.
With January approaching, the Nomads have already flexed their muscles over two successive transfer windows now but are yet to bare the fruits from the strong squad that has been assembled at the Deeside Stadium.
It has been interesting to see that since he left Airbus, the Wingmakers form has become noticeably inconsistent and erratic – only those inside the Airbus camp will really know whether or not that is connected to the departure of Morrison, but at Connah’s Quay, he will need to forge an improved level of consistency within his new squad.
FIVE THINGS MORRISON NEEDS TO DO
Toughen up on the road: A glance at the league table immediately screams out that Connah’s Quay have not been productive enough away from home, where they lost five out of seven, winning just once. Although their home form isn’t overly impressive, they have won less games on their travels than any other WPL team – expect Morrison to toughen the Nomads up on the road.
Get the best out of Ruane and Rushton: I was particularly impressed with the arrival of these two over the summer – Ashley Ruane had come off an impressive debut WPL season at Rhyl, while Nicky Rushton has already proven his worth with spells at Airbus and Newtown. Since then however, the pair haven’t given the Nomads the boost I’d expected. Both have been in and out of the side and appear to be competing for the same place in the side – ultimately, Andy Morrison has two talented forwards on his hands here and Connah’s Quay will be a lot more dangerous if they can get both on form.
More goals from Les Davies: You get the feeling that Andy Morrison will love working with Les Davies – a big physical striker with bags of experience and talent. Les Davies’ switch to the Nomads was the biggest transfer in the WPL over the summer but the side are yet to fully exploit the big man’s ability and his goal return, in truth, has been disappointing. Davies has started and finished all 13 of Connah’s Quay WPL games this season, bar one, clocking up 1164 minutes of action but he has only scored three goals. That’s got to improve.
Keep academy players involved: Despite recruiting heavily over the last year, it should not be forgotten that Connah’s Quay possess a thriving academy and they are prepared to blood young talent. Kieran Gaul, Jack Riley, Corey Roper and Jack Chambers are all 20 years old or under and have already has WPL experience this season.
Break into the top-six: Results have been poor and their start has definitely been underwhelming but the top-half of the WPL table still remains within touching distance. The Nomads are only five points from the top-six and a finish in the top of the table before the league split would guarantee them a play-off spot. The club will be well aware that should they take a top-six spot, Morrison can spend the second-half of the season working on his squad and preparing to launch an assault on the the end of season European play-offs.