Motherwell manager Graham Alexander is hoping more players follow Jake Carroll’s lead by signing contract extensions at Fir Park.
The Irish left-back has signed a new deal until 2023 at the club, well-thought of as one of the leaders in the Motherwell dressing room. Alexander has identified that early in his reign and has tied him down long-term.
But with speculation surrounding out-of-contract stars including Declan Gallagher, Stephen O’Donnell and Allan Campbell, the Well boss wants more to commit: “There’s speculation about players but we want to keep hold of them at least until the summer.
“We’ve got a job to do this season to and that is to win as many games as possible and be a Premiership club. The more good players we have, the better it is for us and we will assess it as we go along with other players out of contract – there is quite a few.
“We want to keep our best players. I’ve only been here for two games but we look at Jake, his personality, his ability as a full-back and we have profiles for all our positions and he ticks so many of those boxes.
“When I spoke to him, he wanted to stay here which is a big thing – we don’t want players here under duress. It’s important that the people here are motivated and Jake is that. We are delighted that he has committed his future for the next couple of years.”
Motherwell have also completed the signing of striker Harry Smith on loan from Northampton Town, someone Alexander believes has a point to prove: “Harry was part of a promotion-winning team last season but he’s found himself just out of the picture down there.
“So we feel we’re bringing in a player with a point to prove and I always feel that adds a motivation to a player – and we want motivated players. He hasn’t been starting games but he’s been involved in the squad a lot so he’s been training and is ready to go.”
Having watched his side battle well in particular against Rangers, pressing high in the first half before being penned in during the second half of that 1-1 draw, Alexander believes it was a ‘template’ for how he wants his side to play.
He explained: “I’d say that first-half performance is the template for everything we want to be going forward, regardless of the opposition. It doesn’t matter if it’s a team at the top of the league, middle or bottom, that’s how we want to play.
“It’s important that we give our players the confidence that we won’t change too much for whoever we play. I told them on my first day that 80 per cent of our game won’t change but you do have to tweak things but that first-half performance against Rangers was absolutely first class.
“We won’t always reach those heights but we’ll always strive for that.”
Refereeing decisions have gone against Alexander in the early parts of his Well reign. The goal conceded to St Mirren was for a foul that never was on Lee Erwin while Cedric Itten’s latest Rangers strike appeared to be offside.
But Motherwell’s new boss has no problem with officials: “I haven’t had a go at any officials, I’ve just given my opinion on certain instances. I wasn’t putting blame on anyone at all. It’s such a hard job for anyone involved in football whether that be coaching, playing or officiating – it’s all difficult.
“You want things to go for you but I don’t think there’s any agenda there so I’m quite relaxed about it. All we want to do is focus on what we can control and that’s the team’s performance and to try to impact on the opposition.”
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