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No celebrations from Steven Hammell as he gets down to business at Motherwell

Steven Hammell is the new Motherwell manager (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Steven Hammell is the new Motherwell manager (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Steven Hammell feels so ready for the task of leading Motherwell that he barely took time to savour the realisation of his long-standing ambition.

The 40-year-old has been named Graham Alexander’s successor on a two-year contract after taking charge of two matches on an interim basis.

Hammell became academy director at Fir Park in January 2018 immediately after playing his 583rd game for Motherwell, and feels his experience has prepared him for the manager’s job.

The former Scotland left-back was the unanimous choice following interviews of three candidates.

“I have been preparing for something like this for a long, long time,” he said in a club video. “I have been in charge of the academy for five years, which is a huge responsibility at the club.

“I have been on the pitch for a couple of years now, daily, with the group in and around the reserve group integrating with the first team.

“I feel it’s something I am ready to do. The interview process was the way I wanted it to be. It wasn’t just going to be given to me because of my role at the club, it was a very thorough and robust process.

“To find out after all that the club believe in my message and what I see for the club going forward gives me great confidence.

“It was a strange one, I was absolutely delighted, maybe for about five seconds, and then I understand exactly what’s needing to be done.

“Then the enormity of the job comes in. There’s a lot of work to do, quickly, and I am just looking to get started as quickly as possible.”

Hammell faces the ongoing task of lifting a squad who have won six games in 2022, one under him, and recently suffered two morale-sapping defeats by Sligo Rovers in the Europa Conference League.

He quickly identified issues needing addressing in the wake of Alexander’s departure, including fitness aspects and tactical changes that would give players more freedom to express themselves.

“The response from them has been excellent, there’s been some great feedback personally from them,” said Hammell, who will continue with Brian Kerr as his assistant.

“We go into a lot of detail in our sessions and analysis and video breakdown of games and training sessions, which they have bought into.

“We need to constantly look for ways to improve, together with the squad we have got just now, added in with some young players that are coming through, and obviously we need to do a little bit of recruitment to tidy things up.”

The former Southend player had the major benefit in the recruitment process of knowing exactly what areas of the squad need strengthening.

“We have got a number of names that we want to bring in,” he said. “Obviously the recruitment side of it is difficult, especially at the stage of the season we are at.

“But we are not starting from today, that’s a process that has begun, and hopefully we can get a couple of additions in that are going to help the starting 11 and the squad. I think that’s needed.”

Hammell’s commitment to and knowledge of the youth set-up that saw Motherwell bring in about £5million in transfer fees in recent years was another major factor.

Alexander only handed a debut to one academy player, Max Johnston, during 18 months in charge. Hammell gave 18-year-old Kian Speirs a first game on his caretaker debut.

Chairman Jim McMahon revealed Hammell had inspired the board with his vision of a “fully integrated club”.

The new manager said: “I feel the togetherness could be better in terms of integrating this one-club approach with academy players and coaches being more involved on a daily basis.

“The young players in the academy seeing there is a pathway there, there are going to be players getting involved, getting loads of minutes this season.

“There’s a few of them ready now, there are a few at different stages.”

Hammell faces a difficult task in his first game in full charge with a trip to Aberdeen on Saturday.

“The one thing we need is a little bit of time but I’m fully aware that in football the last thing you get is time,” he said.