DEAN Birrell is settling into life as Oxford City Stars coach – despite not actually meeting anyone yet.

The experienced head coach was appointed at Oxpens last month.

But the coronavirus lockdown means he has been unable to speak to anyone at the club face-to-face, even doing his interview for the job via conference calls.

To complicate matters further, the Scot is planning for a new season without knowing when it is due to start.

However, it has not stopped Birrell throwing himself into the post.

“I’ve not been off the phone this past couple of weeks,” he said.

“The club have been great and while normally we’d have all met up, like everyone right now we’ve adapted.

“I’ve had a great response from everyone and I’m thoroughly enjoying the role.

“This first couple of weeks have been an intensive time getting to know the club and my colleagues better, working on our plans and recruitment.

“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the directors and digging into the strategy and culture more.”

Building the squad for the 2020/21 National League South Division 1 campaign is the main job in hand.

Darren Elliot, who has a key role spanning the senior and junior set-ups, will be an important figure in the process and has been one of Birrell’s main contacts.

“I have spoken to all the players and explained to them what I expect in terms of standards, attitude, fitness and style of play,” the head coach said.

“We’re now in the recruitment phase and we’re making positive progress.

“It’s unusual as we don’t know what the future holds due to Covid-19, but we have to plan as best we can.

“This is a great opportunity for players to join a tight-knit club with a focus on being competitive, working hard and progressing young talent.”