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New chairman Lenagan wants United to be the best
Far-reaching changes have been made to the club’s sports science department, while U’s boss Chris Wilder will have an increased playing budget to cover existing injuries.
Lenagan, who has become executive chairman to replace Thomas, is modelling the changes on successful measures made at Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club, which he also owns.
The 66-year-old is keen to make improvements across the board to push United to promotion.
“Let me make it clear, I’m not saying it was bad before,” he said.
“It was good before, but we strive for excellence, that’s what we want in terms of fitness, injury prevention, tactics, skill – the whole thing.”
Central to Lenagan’s plans is a radical overhaul in the way United’s players prepare for games, with strength and conditioning a weakness highlighted by Thomas after a disappointing end to last season.
A six-figure sum has been invested this summer on equipment and staff to provide the club with the best sports science resources in npower League Two.
Lenagan said: “The software system we use, the Football Squad, is exactly the same as the one Manchester City have just purchased.
“Similarly, the well-being tests and the new structures that Chris Wilder, (assistant manager) Mickey Lewis and (first-team coach) Andy Melville have taken to so well, they are the latest technology.”
One of the few areas not earmarked for change is in the manager’s office.
Wilder developed a close relationship with Thomas, but the latter’s exit does not make his position more vulnerable.
He said: “None whatsoever, I have no intention of changing Chris Wilder, I’m perfectly comfortable with him.
“He’s got to achieve, of course he has, but that hasn’t changed.”
Instead, Wilder has been given extra funds to spend on the squad to cover for senior players who have reported back for pre-season still struggling with injuries.
Lenagan said: “Recently we’ve discovered there are pre-existing injuries from last season that I didn’t know about until a week ago.
“That means unfortunately extra money which means extra losses, but I’m prepared to do that.”