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Club News

Its minutes on the pitch

25 July 2012

Richie Barker on Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Burnley

“I’m quite pleased after the Burnley game, there are plenty of positives.  Firstly because some of them got 60 or 70 minutes game time in.  It’s the most they have played so far and there were one or two tired legs at half time, but you only get your fitness back by pushing through that tiredness, so in terms of that, it was pleasing.

Some of the football I was quite pleased with, though I thought some of the ball retention was quite poor at times.  Some of that is from being rusty but also, it is still a little bit alien to them, but we will get through that pretty quickly.  Steven Schumacher and Peter Sweeney giving the ball away as often as they did – you could tell how difficult it is going to be, but we will get there.

The training is now becoming a bit more specific, but over all I am quite pleased with what I saw.  That rustiness will disappear quickly.  Now we’ve got five games coming up and that will give them minutes on the pitch.  We’ve only played two training ground games so far, plus the 45 minutes at Radcliffe Borough.  It will get there.

The main aim on Tuesday was minutes on the pitch.  We haven’t worked on a great deal, we have worked on a few things but it will become more specific now.  We will be doing more work individually and as a unit, before we put it all together to working as a team.  That started on Monday and we are putting things in place.

Fitness is obviously better than it was ten days ago at Radcliffe. That game was at a different level.  Sometimes it’s not a bad thing that they come and take the ball off you; it means you have to put the leg work in.  David Worrall looked extremely tired at half time, but to be fair to him, he put the work in and he will benefit from that.

Marcus Marshall is still adapting to this level, and he will also get the benefits of that.  It will take time, and we will start to build it up.  Some have had 60 minutes, some have had 70 minutes and some will get 80 minutes at the weekend and then we will start looking at 90 minutes.

You can almost guess the Teamsheet for Saturday at Morecambe, but by then, pretty much all of them will have reached that 70 minute level, then we start on getting 90 minutes under the belt – that’s where the final bit of match fitness comes from.

We had five teenagers on at the end which again was pleasing, it was five teenagers plus Andrai Jones – who has only just not become a teenager – it’s almost six home-grown players that came through our youth system.  I thought they adapted pretty well and they are starting to realise that this is a quick learning curve.  Max Harrop slightly mis-judged a ball down the line and Jordan Melia slightly misjudged a cross field pass that ended up in the back of the net.  Six months ago, they were playing youth team football – on Tuesday they played against Championship players – it is a steep learning curve.

Making that many changes does kill games like that.  I spoke to Eddie Howe before the game and he told me then he was changing all of them at half time.  I tried to do outs in two blocks.  I’ve been to pre-season games where there’s a change every five minutes and it does ruin the game.  I tried to keep it as tidy as possible and do it in two blocks.  Realistically you have to keep the game flowing or nobody gets anything out of it.”

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