Richie Barker on pre-season training, trialist’s and are there more players coming in?
“Pre-season is going really well, I’ve been really pleased with all the players. We’ve had a bit of moaning from some of them, but you expect that from pre-season training, but they have been absolutely brilliant. Thursday was really hard for them and Tuesday was really hard for them, Wednesday was fairly hard but they have bought into everything we have put on and have been fantastic.
The weather hasn’t helped, and we talked about it before training on Thursday, if we hadn’t had the new drains put into the training ground, we probably would not have been able to use it. The drains have been absolutely brilliant and the pitch at Lower Gigg is excellent now. Its money well spent, and with the weather we’ve had, we wouldn’t have got on the training ground at all. It’s certainly done the job.
I’ve never seen a pre-season like this, usually we have to cut sessions short because it’s too hot or the players are dehydrating. We are cutting sessions short because the pitch is ripping up, there are puddles on it and we are wet through.
We had to make a change on Thursday. I was woken up at half past one in the morning by the rain bouncing off the windows. I’ve become a weather expert in recent weeks; we thought it would dry out for the afternoon so we thought we’d give the pitch a little bit longer to dry out. So we went to Heaton Park for some hill running. We have to be fairly flexible, but in all fairness to Mike (Curtis) and the boys, the pitches down there have been fantastic.
Maybe we could have done with a game this weekend, but the lads have worked so hard. We had a plan of getting two weeks of base fitness into them. So it’s probably quite good that we haven’t taken our foot off the pedal because of a game. This weekend now is the middle week of pre-season, so they are going to have two days off. Next week is where things become shorter and sharper and a bit more position specific.
Peter Sweeney had a tight groin earlier in the week. I am all for somebody dropping out of a session if they feel something like this. Your better somebody missing one session, than joining in and missing six sessions. When the physio tells me that somebody needs a day’s rest and they can train tomorrow, for me that’s a no brainer. We’ve got a 40 day pre-season. Missing one day is not going to make or break somebody. Sweeney missed one session with a tight groin. Adam Lockwood missed a session with a tight back and Lateef missed one session with a sore knee. Touch wood, it shows just how good nick they are in, we’ve done pretty well in avoiding injuries so far.
Position wise, we are ok with players at the moment. We are pretty much where we want to be in terms of two players for each position. We are not really on the lookout for a specific position, what we are looking at now is players that have come on the market, predominantly younger players that have become available.
If I am honest, financially they are probably about all we can afford at the moment and if they can move the club forward by being a younger player that we can invest time in. We are looking for somebody that may become a bit of a project; somebody that may become a decent player is 18 months’ time or so. Somebody that we can work on. Most of the trialist’s that we have had in are under the age of 22.
I'm quite happy with what we have got at the moment. I’ve worked hard to get the three players in over the summer, because they were the three positions that I was looking for. There are one or two that we may have a little bit of a sniff at.
Last weekend at Radcliffe, all four strikers put the ball in the back of the net and that’s a really good positive for us. It was the first game and strikers do like to get off the mark. Ryan Lowe never liked scoring in pre-season because he said he was wasting goals whereas I liked to get off the mark early doors because I liked it to become a habit. Everyone is different, but for all of them to play 45 minutes, and all four get a goal is great for them and the club.’
Watch the full video interview with the Gaffer on Shakers World