When Paul Ince was appointed as Notts County’s sixth manager in just over a year last week, he said that he wanted to ‘join a club that wants to build something special’, and he added that he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to be at Meadow Lane.
The ex-Blackburn and MK Dons manager, who has signed a deal to keep him at County until 2014, insisted that he had come to the club to build, and he immediately set high standards for himself, stating:
"I want to change the whole mind-set of the squad of players and the club. I want to change the whole ethos of the club. I want to take this club and these fans forward. I'm looking forward to it."
Whether this optimism has been blunted following his first game in charge, the Magpies’ 3-1 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday, remains to be seen. However, judging by his actions this week, Ince certainly doesn’t mean to waste any time in stamping his own mark on the club; he has already completed a hat-trick of signings and hopes to add another two players within the week.
The first of the new players to join the Meadow Lane fold was 31-year old Nigerian international defender Sam Sodje, who Ince described as a ‘proven quality player’. Sodje has signed until 2012 and was expected to make his Notts debut away at Hartlepool last night but for a postponement. Fitness may be an issue though, as he has not played for six weeks.
The other two new signings are both on two-month loan deals from one of Ince’s former clubs, Liverpool. His 18-year old son, Thomas, an attacking midfielder, and 22-year old defender Stephen Darby, join the Magpies.
Darby has played Champions League football for Liverpool and had a three-month loan spell at Swindon last season, during which he played in the play-off final.
Commenting on the signing of his son, Ince the elder said: "I've brought him in because he's a damn good player. He's got pace and will add a bit of quality to the squad."
He revealed: "There were a few clubs interested in him. I tried to get him for the rest of the season but they [Liverpool] want him back in January."
Ince believes that his new signings will freshen up the club and increase its quality. He also aims to sign more players in January, if funds are available. As for the two other targets who the new Notts manager aims to capture imminently, their identity remains a secret. All Ince would say is that ‘they are good players, and have played at a higher level.'
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.