Richie Wellens

By Harry Dunnett & Aaron Diskinย 

New Salford City manager Richie Wellens will take charge of his first game on Saturday afternoon in an FA Cup first-round clash at home to National League side Hartlepool United.

Ex-Manchester United academy player Wellens left his role in SkyBet League One as manager of Swindon Town on Wednesday to drop down a division to League Two and manage promotion hopefuls Salford City.

In his first press conference since his appointment, Wellens outlined why he made the decision to drop down a division to manage Salford and his ambitions going forward as manager.

He stated: “When you’re manager of Swindon it’s difficult to attract players down there because the nearest club is 30,40 miles away.

“I’m in an area {now} with a lot of clubs, so scouting and player recruitment is a lot easier to deal with, obviously with my family {are here too} but make no mistake, I haven’t come here to spend more time with my family.

“I’m here for the next stage, the next development of my career, I mean I had enough of my family after 5 months of lockdown, i’m desperate to get away from them!”

He continued to say: “I look at the club and the way it’s been run over the last six, seven years, every manager that has managed this club have done great jobs and been successful and now I’m just the next one in line to continue that momentum and get us promoted to League One.”

Speaking about implementing a new style of football, one more on the front foot and in line with the type of football the Class of โ€˜92 want to see, Wellens gave the Salford fans the news they wanted to hear.

He said: “That’s what I was brought up on, I was brought up in youth teams, all the Class of โ€˜92 were 3 or 4 years older than me and I grew up watching them.

“Hopefully now I can reward them by getting their club to the next level and attacking football is in my DNA definitely.”

When asked whether the playing style is as important as the results, Wellens said: “One hundred percent, yes.

“To change the playing style so that Salford fans, the owners of the club not only come to the ground every Saturday, every Tuesday to see their team win but they also enjoy watching their team.

“I want to put a team out that can make the fans especially in this current time, look at their team and think you know what we’re stuck in lockdown, we can’t do anything but I really enjoy sticking iFollow on and having a few beers.”

Regarding his relationship with the Salford City owners going forward, Wellens said: “I’m lucky because Gary has been a player, a manager and now he’s an owner.

“So he understands the whole infrastructure of a club, I’m hoping we communicate well and the trust is there very quickly and we’re all pulling in the same direction. No football club has success unless everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

Looking ahead to his first game as manager on Saturday in the FA Cup first round, Wellens expects a tough test against a Hartlepool side 6th in the National League.

He said: “It will be a tough test, I mean these games are about one thing and the main thing is our attitude and application are good, then we definitely have the quality to hurt them.”

However, he believes it’s a good chance for players to impress him without the pressure of winning and keeping the promotion hopes alive.

Wellen said: “I think the pressure would be more if it was a league game because I’m here really to get promoted.

“The bigger picture for me is we have Hartlepool, then we have Rochdale and we have to take things going forward because the big one for me is the Bolton game next Friday.”

On whether being a local lad will help him build a quicker rapport with the fanbase, Wellens said: “Not really no because I think you form relationships with supporters by the performance on the pitch and results, if Salford got Pep Guardiola in and he lost every game, that would turn sour pretty quickly.

โ€So I’m under no illusions that for every single manager, at every single club up and down the country, results are very, very important.”

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