THE WORKMAN won't be able to blame his tools from September and the next couple of months in the transfer market will be critical to Bernard Jackman's Rodney Parade reign.

The Irishman has been afforded plenty of time since taking over as the Dragons' head coach in June, patience being something his predecessors would have loved to have prospered from.

There has been understanding of this being a big rebuilding job, that Caerleon wasn't built in a day.

This season has almost been a freebie for Jackman and the pitiful Guinness PRO14 record has only received minor grumbling when in the past the rotten fruit would have been hurtling from the terraces towards Darren Edwards, Lyn Jones and Kingsley Jones.

The head coach will know that he is in a lucky position but he will also be aware, and one hopes be happy, that it will heap the pressure on for the next campaign.

Jackman can't afford for his Dragons project to be a failure after a good spell in Grenoble, helping an unfashionable club punch above their weight, ended on a low with relegation from the Top 14.

A feature of this season has been his presence in the media in his native Ireland with the former Leinster hooker popping up on podcasts, radio shows, webcasts and print.

It's been good for the Dragons' profile but also for Jackman's. It would be naïve to think that he wouldn't return home in a heartbeat if one of the four provinces offered him an attractive job.

For that to happen he needs to spearhead a change of fortunes at Rodney Parade and from next season he will not have the excuses that were available to those that went before him, who operated with hands tied by an unambitious and dysfunctional organisation.

Jackman has been given the backing of the WRU and chairman David Buttress to have a busy recruitment drive and needs plenty of hits and minimal misses.

Due diligence will have been done but there's always the element of jeopardy – I felt that Lee Byrne was a superb signing in 2014 only for injury to be cruel. The former Wales and Lions full-back's arrival meant the departure of Dan Evans, a solid regional player who has since been excellent at the Ospreys.

The reason used most frequently for this season's disappointment is that the squad does not contain enough quality and that there isn't enough depth.

Jackman would have known that when he stepped through the door but chose to give every player on the roster a chance to be a part of Year Two.

Frankly some individuals' time was up from last summer; it would have taken a miracle for a fresh deal to be put on the table in front of them. Even some solid players were up against it because room had to be made in the budget and judgement calls were made that their salaries are too high for what they provide.

Others have proved their worth – notably tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother and lock Joe Davies – while prospects like Aaron Wainwright, Jared Rosser and Dan Babos have filled a gap.

But the aim has been to provide a squad where the drop-off in quality isn't noticeable between those that are first and second on the depth chart.

To that end things are ticking along quite nicely, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Top of the shopping list is a mean, tough lock – and there is potential to bring one in from overseas – while a fly-half would be desirable given that Gavin Henson will turn 37 next season. What the Dragons would give for a player like Benetton's Kiwi recruit Marty Banks.

So far Jackman has signed eight players for next season, would they improve the first choice matchday 23?

Back rower Ross Moriarty? Definitely. Hooker Richard Hibbard? Definitely. Scrum-half Rhodri Williams? Definitely.

Utility back Jordan Williams? Probably. Loosehead Ryan Bevington? Probably. Fly-half Josh Lewis? Possibly.

I haven't seen enough of flanker/lock Huw Taylor and scrum-half Rhodri Davies to judge, although the former sounds promising and the latter was apparently sprightly when he played out west.

Another handful of players will come through the door and the cavalry will change where the finger of blame is pointed in 2018/19.

Arguably the coaching staff have got off a little lightly this season and it must hurt them that in the past fortnight the Dragons have been beaten by two well-drilled but hardly fancy teams in Benetton and Edinburgh.

Jackman has been able to argue that he has been working with someone else's squad, a predicament that has led to him instead taking the chance to blood some young prospects in a unique pressure-free season.

Rather than the coaches trying to get a tune out of and improve the current crop of established pros, they have concentrated on the next generation before they welcome the new recruits this summer.

"If we were going into next season with the same squad I'd be worried but we saw early doors that we didn't have enough depth and quality," said Jackman after the demoralising loss to Edinburgh.

"We went to address that and it is ongoing. It's not as though we are surprised, you always hope that things will go better than you predict but the reality was that we needed to rebuild and start from pretty much scratch."

These will be Jackman's players and the new boys have to settle swiftly and make an immediate impact.