Unbeaten Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson wants continuity to deliver a recognisable Dundee United side as he looks to drive the club forward.
Since Neilson’s appointment, the United boss has named a remarkably consistent starting eleven with just 13 different players starting and any changes so far enforced by injury. It is this kind of consistency, and that of results, that Neilson believes will underpin the success he wants to bring to Tannadice.
“Continuity in football is something that is very underrated whether it be week-to-week or year-to-year,” he said.
“Coming in, continuity for me was this is the style, this is the formation we are going to play, this will be the starting line-up.”
“If you do well, you’ll stay in the team, if you don’t somebody else will come in and that’s the way it is.”
For Neilson it is not just about continuity of team selection or tactics, but about continuity in all areas of the club.
“I think even the recruitment side of it,” he said.
“Yes, we are gearing up for January, but we have got a very good squad here and do I really want to change a lot of the squad and lose that continuity?
“Look at Livingston, for me a prime example of that up here in Scotland over the last few years.
“I think I am right in saying eight of them from the game against Celtic at the weekend there had come from League One, Championship, right the way through.
“So that’s a group of eight players that played League One football who have just drawn with the double-treble winners.
“So, it shows that they don’t have the same ability, they don’t have the same athleticism fitness-wise but what they have is that continuity and that understanding of what they are about and what the club is about, so it is massive for me.”
‘That’s a Dundee United team’
United have experienced a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since Neilson’s appointment and there already appears to be early signs of being able to build strong foundations for the future. For Neilson, the Livingtson example underlines once again how keeping a core squad together can lead to progress.
“It is something we have to develop here as well,” said Neilson.
“We can’t every season be turning over 12, 14 players because you just can’t do it.
“You have to have a group of players that are here like in years gone by.
“If you ask about the Dundee Uniteds of the 80s and early 90s some people could probably name all of them, but I can name the Hegartys and the Nareys, all these guys and Sturrock.
“It is guys that were here for a long period but when you go into the recent years it is difficult to name a consistent group of players that you could say ‘that’s a Dundee United team’ and that’s what we need to try and get back to and we do that by keeping that continuity in the team.”
The United boss revealed that he has already identified transfer targets for the upcoming January transfer window, however he has stressed that any changes will compliment the existing squad of players.
“There is one or two, but I don’t want to bring a lot in,” he said.
“I think this is a really good squad, if we do manage to get a couple in it will be to give the squad a lift.
“It’s not going to be wholesale changes that’s for sure, it’s going to be this group of players driving forward.”
Meanwhile, club captain Fraser Fyvie is expected to be in contention for Tuesday night’s game against Alloa Athletic. The midfielder had been taken off injured in the 1-0 win over Ross County, however a scan has revealed that the injury is not as bad as first feared.