Following on from a very tough start to pre-season with games against full time National League Premier teams, we turn our attention to Premier League AFC Bournemouth’s Academy, who will be coming to us after a week training in Alicante, writes Neil Baker.
As has been mentioned in our interviews, we could quite easily have started with a few games against teams lower down the pyramid to try and get a few wins on the board, however the reality is that this is pre-season (and effectively training), so we made the decision that we wanted to be tested as much as we could be, as it would help us get to where we need to be quicker, ready for 3rd August.
This is a time where we are trying to get the lads as fit and sharp as they can be, and with no disrespect intended we played Staines for example last summer, where we won 5-0 and it could have been 10. The lads hardly had to get out of third gear, and the afternoon ended up being a bit of a waste of a session for us.
The second half on Saturday was a perfect example that minutes into the legs is more important than results - we were 2-0 down at half time to a very good side, and instead of trying to stay as strong as possible defensively we continued with our plan of changing the side around to get the relevant people the minutes we had decided on. This meant playing a number of people out of position with Ryan Bird at centre half, Simon Dunn at left back, Matt Lench in a holding role in midfield, and also Manny in a much deeper role whilst also having a trialist come on at centre half for the last 30 minutes.
Tonight will be very similar in terms of being up against a high energy side, who will have lots of the ball. It will be another big test for us and one we are really looking forward to. We also plan on trying a couple of things out this evening.
We welcome back Sam Togwell and Warren Harris, plus we expect Mark Nisbet to be fit after feeling tight in his groin on Saturday.
We will also get another opportunity to look at Matt Briggs this evening. Josh Jackman will continue his rehab from an adductor problem, and we are hopeful he will be fit towards the back end of pre-season. Ryan Bird will miss the game this evening due to a few nights away on holiday with his wife.
Squad from: Jack Turner, Sean Fraser, George Wells, Guy Hollis, Mark Nisbet, Sam Togwell, Warren Harris, Max Worsfold, Matthew Lench, Lee Togwell, Simon Dunn, Matthew Briggs, Joe Grant, Manny Williams, Ben Harris, Dan Roberts and Francis Amartey.
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