Boss John Gregory insists Crawley Town are still capable of attracting quality players despite recent cutbacks at the club.
Reds closed their youth academy and made numerous redundancies towards the end of last season in an attempt to balance the books.
Gregory also released 11 players and offered four others new contracts on reduced terms to try to reduce their dependency on their financial backers.
But Gregory hopes that the signing of midfielder Jimmy Smith from Stevenage for a small fee on Monday will quash fears that Reds do not have the budget to build a competitive squad in League One.
Gregory said: “I don’t want people to think we are just going to sign players from Conference south as we have made all these cutbacks.
“The cutbacks were made so we can spend money on players as opposed to other areas. At the end of the day fans don’t come to watch office furniture or three physios going about their business.
“We have to be careful but there is money available. We paid a small fee for Jimmy to be able to get him from Stevenage because Graham Westley (Stevenage manager) did not want to lose him.
“We don’t want to be paying transfer fees but if the whole package suits us we will go for it. If there is a small fee it might reduce the player’s salary so it is a balancing act.”
The arrival of Smith means Gregory now has a squad of six senior players and he is keen to double that in the next couple of weeks.
However, the Reds boss admits it is not easy to persuade players to commit so early in the summer and that he is unlikely to have a full strength squad in place until the eve of the new season.
He added: “I’d like to be in a position where in a couple of weeks we have five or six others signed so we could at least get a team out! I’d love to get them in and get them sorted so I can relax a little bit.
“I would love to have at least 15 by the time we come back for pre-season (on June 30) and then add two or three others after that but it’s not that easy for us as we are not in a position to offer large salaries.
“I’m sure we will go into August still trying to add to the squad but everybody except the Bristol City’s of this world will be in a similar situation.”
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