“The retained list will be done this week, we just have a couple of conversations to have,” said Clough.
“We will be in this week working, trying to get a few players over the line if we can. Then we need a break – maybe two or three weeks.
“We know we were pretty close this season. We weren't far away. So it's now a matter of putting that behind us and going again. We have no choice. We start the season in less than nine weeks.
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“We need a few players in and that starts straight away.
“Pre-season plans are pretty much in place, although we will put it back a couple of days to give the lads a little bit more rest to allow for them trying to get over the disappointment.
“Physically and mentally we have to get over it and we have to be ready in less than nine weeks.
“Now it's just getting the squad in place. It's not as if we need many. I think Port Vale brought in 26 players over the course of the two windows. We don't need that sort of surgery.”
He continued: “We have 13 or 14 outfield players in place at the moment, so we need four or five to add to that. But they will have to be good ones in order to improve the squad. We know the areas we need to improve in.
“I think the experience we have has been vital in getting us through the bad spell and getting us to where we got to.
“We are happy with the majority of the squad. We just need to tweak it a little bit.”
It looks like Clough will again have the services of James Perch and Jordan Bowery next season.
“The good news is that Jordan Bowery and James Perch are very close to agreeing new deals,” he said.
“I think in principle they have been agreed. Obviously everyone has been so busy in the last week or so, especially Diane (secretary Ceney), who has had everything on her plate. We will get cracking on those this week, but they are agreed in principle.”
On targets, he said: “We definitely need one in each department, depending on who stays and who goes.
“We only need one defender. We are happy with our defensive options at the moment. Then a couple of midfielders and a couple of attackers – maybe one attacker outright and one who just plays off a little bit.
“That will be the aim. If we can get five in those areas then we will be happy.
“We have started talking to players – you have to put a couple of scenarios in place.
“We have made some chase-up calls this morning.
“Three or four of the players on the list have said they are only interested in League One which you can understand.
“So we just need to find out if that is still a definite for them – a make or break.
“Some people change their minds. They might not have had the offers that they'd hoped for. So that will be the first job.
“Then we work back from our targets like that.”