"We need energy and fight for the cause - that is much valued; we have got some great high technical qualities, but we need a bit of steel and a bit of energy round them.
"I have targeted one or two but there is no point in getting players to get us out of this division if they become redundant in the Premier League.
"You could perhaps do that with one or two but not three or four if they can't make the next step.
"The reality is, though, that we are in the first division and we can't get away from that."
He does have, as Trevor Brooking has put it, a "small pot" to dip into and he smiles:
"I know what is available even if I would rather have £15m!
"But I come from a club where financial restraints are much tougher than here and I have worked within that so it doesn't faze me.
"The small budget that I have got is still okay, but I am not going to make that public because it would cause me problems with other managers - and I can't disclose my targets."
Alan says he has found, in his first two days, a group of players who are not feeling sorry for themselves following relegation, and explains:
"I have got to be honest and say I have a lot of admiration for the fact that they have coped with that really well.
"I don't think it has been reflected in the games I have seen on video; there has been a commitment to work hard and get the results.
"It is not always in a constructive manner but that is only because they are keen to do well - and that is important.
"I have seen teams come down and just fold away, but we haven't done that, and Trevor takes a lot of credit for that."
Turnig draws into wins, especially at home, is a priority for Alan, who adds:
"It is hard in this division, and it is going to get harder to win games at home because teams are going to come, and, with the respect they give us, they are going to camp behind the ball and it is going to be made very difficult for us to score goals.
"They will start coming here with a 4-5-1 or a 5-4-1 - I saw that at my old club and you have to be very patient at times.
"It is important that we don't pass the ball for passing's sake, that we start to hurt teams and we are going to have to learn that.
"It hasn't really happened this year but as we get stronger it will."
As for what changes he may make, he adds:
"I have seen the problems of getting into Chadwell Heath for me and the players, so that has been a bit of an eye-opener.
"I will have to make sure there is a way and a means of getting in there on time so I might adjust the time of training.
"I have to make sure they get there at a time when they can start improving themselves so we aren't waiting for people.
"People in the working world might find that strange; I am not against the players spending some time with their children in the morning but then you come to work, and work properly.
"But I have had a look at the discipline of the place and I wouldn't harp on that because I have seen already that the guys are willing to learn - I have been very pleased.
"A lot of things will change but the most important thing is tomorrow night's game and we are working on that."
As for his so-called 'gardening leave' he adds:
"I have not done any gardening, that was a conscious decision - I have been catching up on different levels of football, some reserve team football to see who is about and not about, and I have gone to see most of the contenders in the division.
"I have generally re-educated myself with a couple of old football books that I had read before.
"The spirit is good here and the results have been pretty good although there have been some draws at home.
"I think there is real high technical quality and I am focusing on attitude."