12:00pm Thursday 16th January 2014
By Rob Iles
GLOUCESTERSHIRE are unlikely to make any more signings before the new county cricket season begins, according to chief executive Will Brown.
The county have been forced to cut their cloth due to the ongoing redevelopment of the County Ground in Bristol, which entered the next phase this week with the demolition of the Mound Stand to allow work to begin on the new stand, scheduled to be completed in May.
Gloucestershire have only made one signing during the winter so far, with left-arm spinner Tom Smith joining permanently from Middlesex after a successful loan spell at the club last season.
Brown, who took over from Tom Richardson last September, said: “We are really happy with the squad we’ve got, having been able to retain the players we wanted and seen a couple step up from our second XI and academy, which is exactly what we are looking for in terms of developing our own talent.
“The financial reality as we approach our budget process this month is that unless we are given a short-term cash injection from outside the club it is unlikely that we will be able to fund any additional players for the 2014 season.
“The decision was taken a few years ago that our focus would be on having a ground that hit the ECB requirements for international cricket and a lot of money has been sucked out of the club to ensure that is the case.
“However, we have also tried to ensure that we have as strong a team as possible representing Gloucestershire, and I believe our current squad is capable of being very competitive in domestic cricket this summer.”
Despite the lack of new players, Brown is confident Gloucestershire can have a successful season.
He said: “It is not a young squad anymore. There are some youngsters in it, but a lot of the guys who were quite rightly described as inexperienced two or three years ago are now well into their twenties with a decent amount of cricket under their belts.
“2014 has to be a breakthrough year for us on the pitch. Now we have such excellent facilities, we need to ensure we are making the most of them in terms of the income we are generating as a club.
“The better we perform as a team the easier it will be to do that, so the players have to stand up and be competitive in as many formats of the game as possible.
“The more successful they are, the more people we will get coming through the gates. It’s natural correlation in professional sport everywhere.”
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