BARROW AFC have appointed chief scout Paul Ogden as the club’s new head of football operations.

Ogden has taken over responsibilities for squad planning, player acquisition and development from manager Paul Cox.

AFC managing director Andrew Casson insists the move is not an indication that Cox – who was appointed as manager in November 2015, and who brought in Odgen as chief scout in February last year – is on the way out.

Nor, he said, did it show that relations between the manager and the Cassons – Andrew and club owner and chairman father Paul – have been strained during the summer, when much squad recruitment was left until late in the day.

Instead, the Bluebirds MD said it was an appointment – made following a meeting between the Cassons and Ogden on Friday, and of which Cox was later informed – designed to improve communications between the management set-up and the club’s owners with a view to bettering the talent spotting and recruitment process.

Asked who had made the appointment, Andrew Casson said: “It was essentially me and my dad. As we went through the course of pre-season, we looked at last season. We realised that Paul Ogden was increasingly important to what was going on, and that needed to be recognised in more of an official role.

“Paul Ogden brought it up and asked if he could be more involved last week, so we met him on Friday and talked about what he saw his strengths as being and how he wanted to get involved. We made the decision right there among the three of us.”

He added: “I think the necessity of the role came about because, as you look at it, Paul Cox really needs to focus on Halifax on Tuesday and Woking the Saturday after that. He needs to be focused on the day-to-day match preparation and planning, everything like that.

“Part of what we saw as the failure of last season was that when we got to December and January, there was no-one who could clearly lead the line in terms of ‘this is the plan for strengthening the squad, this is who we are looking at, this is what we need’, and everything like that.

“Whereas before there were informal conversations between the chairman and Paul Cox, now it will Paul Cox and Paul Ogden working much more in terms of having that objective and communicating what they need back to me and the chairman.”

Casson insisted that Odgen and Cox combined would still have the final say on which players are brought in, though he and his father were in charge of the budget and any recruitment would have to be made within that.

He said he could not foresee a situation where Ogden would bring a player to himself and his father of whom Cox was not a fan, and was firm in stating the appointment of Ogden to his new role was in no way an indication Cox was on his way out.

Asked if the manager was being lined up to be replaced, Casson said: “No. If anything, it is for our personal benefit, myself and the chairman. Paul Cox and Paul Ogden have worked together for so long, that this is just formalising another person on the staff who knows what Paul Cox wants, knows what he needs, and has more time to speak to myself and the chairman about what Paul Cox needs.

“Part of the learning curve we have had to go through is that Paul Cox is speaking from a football perspective and myself, I’m speaking from a business perspective. Paul Ogden can bridge that gap to make sure that everyone is on the same page – we know what Paul (Cox) wants, Paul knows what we want and we are all communicating.”

And pushed if the relationship between the Casson and Cox had been strained during the summer, with it becoming harder to find common ground over recruitment, he added: “I don’t think it has been harder to find the common ground, I think we’re trying to find a process where it is group decision-making. So, when we get to January, December, we all know why we made the decisions we made and what decisions need making going forward.

“I wouldn’t call (the relationship) strained by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s difficult to keep momentum on decisions when the chairman is having a conversation with Paul Cox every two or three weeks.

“Paul Odgen’s primary responsibility is being involved in the day-to-day to make sure that once a week, once every couple of days –depending on how busy it is – we can see and review everything that is going on. That’s versus doing a lot of good work, a player comes up and they say ‘we need this player now’. You want to be able to take a few minutes and say ‘why this player? Is he good value? What’s the potential?’ All these questions we want to ask to make sure we are bringing in the right guy. Paul Ogden will be able to communicate all of that on an ongoing basis, so when they come to us with a player, we can say yes or no, depending on how the squad is looking.”