Pre-Season steps up with stronger opposition and a tougher test
Richie Barker threw his entire first team squad into last weekend’s pre-season opener at Radcliffe Borough with no tactics, no shape work and only one command – to try and win the game.
The opening twelve minutes can be called a ‘rusty start’ as Radcliffe took the lead following a bit of an error at the back. The next 72 minutes though brought a response, six goals, fitness and perhaps the one important factor to the manager, minutes on the pitch. A 6-1 win means absolutely nothing of course, but the fact that all four strikers got amongst the goals did please Richie Barker
No player played more than 45 minutes – that will change on Tuesday evening with the manager moving forward to introduce a more settled side and to step up the preparation for the Middlesbrough game in just 19 days’ time.
Games will come thick and fast now, Burnley on Tuesday, Morecambe on Saturday, Birmingham City in a weeks’ time – it’s all about building up, getting strength into legs that are more than likely sick of pre-season already.
Ask any player ahead of pre-season, and they will all tell you they hate pre-season training. Ask them half way through and they will tell you it’s getting boring, ask any player the day before the first game of the new season and they will probably tell you they loved every minute of it.
Injuries are thus far not a part of pre-season. Tom Walsh has had plenty of the usual blisters, stiff muscles and slight sprains – but nothing that will any of the 24 man squad out of any game. All 24 will want to be involved, and all 24 probably will be at some point as the second half will more than likely turn into the usual change it all about scenario – the biggest problem is usually keeping up with all the changes.
Trialists may also feature at some point – though Richie Barker prefers to use squad players in games like this.
Visitors Burnley will provide the usual tough test, they have done on their previous three visits at the same stage of pre-season, and they almost usually win the game 3-0.
Eddie Howe will bring his first team squad to Gigg Lane, looking for exactly the same as Richie Barker. Changes all over the place, new players bedding in and preps for a new season building up.
For many Shakers, this will be the first chance to see the new additions – Adam Lockwood and Marcus Marshall will both make their bow at Gigg Lane. The new look Gigg Lane pitch will go through its first test – who will fall victim of the new sprinklers – with 18 sprinkler heads embedded into the surface.
The Shakers will also be wearing the new home kit for this game, with the club shop open before and after the game – and early reports suggest brisk sales so far.
Admission for this game is:-
Adults - £10.00
Concessions - £5.00
Home supporters will use the Main Stand, with away supporters in the South Stand
The game will be covered on Shakers Player with full match commentary (Maurice Dickson and Craig Morley), whilst we hope to have all port match video’s live on Shakers Player before midnight.
Match Action Images will be live later in the week, along with those from the Radcliffe Borough game. A minor technical glitch with the new website has prevented us from placing the images live this far. The match report will hit the website soon after the final whistle with text versions of the post-match interviews coming on-line on Wednesday. Also, our new website allows us to provide match action galleries for all the players. As the games progress, each player will have his own gallery updated with new images on a game by game basis.