Sussex plan to sign two or three experienced players during the close season.

The county are plotting how to recover from a 2021 season which saw them finish bottom of the Championship.

Chief executive Rob Andrew admits Sussex put far too much responsibility on youngsters – due to circumstances rather than by design.

Andrew said: “Even when experienced players were around, they did not support the young players as we would have liked and they would have liked.

“We need to make sure that balance is better.

“We need two or three signings of experience, which we are working on to come in alongside Steve Finn and Fynn Hudson-Prentice.

“That puts us into that balanced position we hoped we were in at the start of last season.

“The side this year was too young too often but some of their individual performances were extraordinary.”

Andrew said the teen brigade would not be harmed by heavy late-season defeats.

He added: “It won’t damage them – quite the opposite because we know what they are like as characters.

“They are ambitious. They all want to play for England, they want to play for Sussex.

“They are good, tough characters and they just want to be in the fight.

“I think the end of the season will drive them even harder through the winter.”

Andrew has also stressed how his top priority for the last 18 months, after Covid swept the country, has been to safeguard the club and the jobs of its employees.

He is aware he is coming in for criticism, mainly through social media, after the county’s first Championship wooden spoon since 2000.

As well as the final placing, the demoralising nature of defeats made the last weeks of the season a tough watch at times.

The much-vaunted T20 side lost in the Vitality Blast semis as two key players, Chris Jordan and Phil Salt, turned out for the club for the final time.

A big winter awaits but Andrew told The Argus: “I don’t see doom and gloom at all, quite the opposite actually.

“I think the big picture is, for a couple of years now, we have known our Championship side probably needed rebuilding and our T20 side has been up there.

“In a sense, the T20 side has performed well for four years.

“We haven’t won it and that is a bit disappointing.

“The balance of where the Championship side and where the T20 side is at, it’s clear we haven’t got that right.

“We knew that was a situation we were going to have to deal with.

“The overplay has then been Covid and financial challenges.

“I said it right at the start, financial survival was the No.1 priority.

“We don’t have a sugar daddy, we have to be prudent with how we operate.

“My priority was absolutely to get us through what we were faced with.

“We have now had 18 months, we have had two summers of Covid and the impact of that financially.

“But we are very stable because of decisions we have taken.

“We are also building for the future off the pitch (with a development on the site of the Sussex Cricketer pub).

“That is a really important scheme for the long term.”

Andrew said Sussex always intended to use young players in 2021 – to a degree.

But he was expecting them to receive rather more support from senior colleagues.

In reality, that only happened once – at Glamorgan early in the season when Ollie Robinson took nine wickets and Stiaan Van Zyl scored a century.

That combination helped Sussex to their only red-ball win of the season.

Too often, a youthful XI could compete for three days or three innings and then fell away.

Their last home games brought hefty defeats by Middlesex and previously winless Derbyshire.

Andrew said: “We made a very deliberate decision both financially and strategically on the playing side with the appointment of Ian Salisbury and James Kirtley (as coaches) to build the Championship side for a medium term perspective.

“That is exactly what we have done.

“The challenge from people – which I understand and I agree with – is that we have ended up with the young players having to carry too much of the burden.

“The senior players this season have either been injured, not performed, gone off with England or a host of circumstances that we weren’t expecting.

“We thought we would get some more out of those senior players.

“We have had to take some medicine and the young guys have been amazing.

“They have all got 50ss 100s, five-fors.

“It has not come together as a team and that is disappointing from a results perspective.

“When people look at the results, particularly in the last four rounds, the guys were on their knees.

“Young players, mentally and physically tired, without much support from any of the senior players apart from Browny (Ben Brown).

“They fell away at the end of the season and we have to take that take it on the chin.

“In terms of the direction of travel, look at what the youngsters have done individually - and even the not so young like Tom Haines, leading run scorer in the country.

“We have got to get the balance right. That is why we have signed Steve Finn and Fynn Hudson-Prentice as all format players.

“One of the things we have had a problem with is we have had arguably too many players who are one format or the other.

“When you have limited resource, it’s hard to balance that.”

It felt like Sussex had split into two clubs – T20 and Championship.

Andrew agrees with that observation and wants to see it rectified.

He said: “There have been particular circumstances which have meant that has happened this year more than we would have liked.

“Whether it was Phil Salt being injured at the start of the season, so he hasn’t played a red-ball game this year.

“George (Garton) playing red-ball and white-ball but trying to manage his workload.

“Ollie Robinson disappearing for a large chunk of the summer (with England).

“I think it is a fair comment about the club separating and it is not what we want to do.

“But, in the modern era with white-ball and red-ball and the amount of cricket being played, players are going to vote with their feet and go where the money is. James and Ian have been trying to juggle that in their first season – in Covid.

“We have had six players called up for England this year.

“We have to get that balance and more support for these young players, who will be the backbone of this club for the next decade.”

Sussex made use of the furlough scheme to protect jobs.

Andrew said: “We protected all jobs apart from a couple of admin roles in the indoor school and the catering team was affected last summer. They are not technically our employees. Catering is done by Sodexo.”