Frank Yallop's weekly tele-conference with reporters yielded some insight into the club's plans for trialists Grant Ward and Thomas Piermayr along with an update on a few other topics. Needless to say, the coach was very pleased with the performance of the young players so far including the most recent win over Colorado.
Here are the highlights:
- Shipp and Joya impress : Yallop was asked if he was surprised that Harry Shipp and Benji Joya had found success so quickly. It seems he was expecting that they could step in and contribute now. "To be honest they're good players. I think it's about giving the young players the platform to perform and they've accepted that. They've been a big part of everything we're doing. It's been good for their confidence," said Yallop.
- Starting XI : Yallop indicated that he's pretty close to settling on a starting eleven. "We'll see how the next few weeks play out. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do but there are a few spots open," he said. "We're going to see how the next three games go. We have a pretty good core of players who are going to be there against Chivas and I know who they are but there are a couple of spots up for grabs". He remained coy about which spots he was referring to.
- Retaining Ward : The Fire are looking to keep Grant Ward via a possible loan or maybe permanently but no deal has been finalized yet. "Any player we sign, I'm thinking long term. He's had a wonderful two weeks and we'd love to attempt to be able to keep him but it's going to be up to Tottenham. We have a great relationship with them and I feel that we can get that done but until it does you never know," he said cautiously. "We'll go back and negotiate and talk but Grant's very committed to coming back if it works out. He's done well enough to earn that spot. I'm hoping that it works out and he's available for us". Yallop is hoping to get a deal done now rather than later.
- Team Captain? : Although Jeff Larentowicz and Logan Pause wore the armband last season, Yallop hasn't settled yet on a captain for 2014. "I haven't decided yet, we're still early into it and I want to make sure the right choice is made. Jeff's played very well in pre-season and Logan's obviously a guy that we respect". Yallop said he would figure that out "when the time comes" and before the season starts.
- Magee missing time : Mike Magee has been away with the National Team and has missed training time due to various commitments but Yallop isn't concerned that he will have any difficulty meshing back in with the first team when he rejoins the club. "Magee is still sharp after time with the National Team and some training in Bradenton" he said. He wants to make sure that Magee is healthy and ready to go on opening day.
- Piermayr gets a longer look : Austrian defender Thomas Piermayr got a start on Wednesday and will continue to get a shot at making the roster. "Thomas played well. The positions he can play are right back, left back, and center midfield. He's a good player and had a nice solid game yesterday. The next ten days or so will really determine if we sign Thomas or not," said Yallop.