Kevin Blackwell on trialists and the game at Radcliffe“It was the workout that we wanted. We knew the pitch was going to be a leveller and to be fair; it was poor because the grass is way too long, but as I said, it was about getting 45 minutes into the lad’s legs... The second half was just one way traffic.
In the first half you could tell that they hadn’t played for a while, they have never played together as a team before. This is the beginning of what we are talking about, we know that we still have to bring five or six in and we know that this is still a building process. People have to understand that this is still building.
These types of games are worth holding. A lot of the fans were able to be here today and it gave them the chance to look at one or two of the signings, to look at the trialists and they will have seen one or two things today.
You start at a certain level professionally and build it up to the competitive level, which is exactly what we have done. Playing Radcliffe Borough at this stage is a good start for us as our first game.
As for the trialists, their energy and their enthusiasm stood out. They are here on trial and they know that, and fair play to them – they showed that. They gave me plenty of room for thought. John Rooney did quite well. Jeremy Byame from France did very well, he’s brilliant on the ball but he has to learn when to release it a little bit earlier.
Aidan Chippendale came on and he gave us more energy plus Shaun Harrad looked very hungry today. They all came back for pre-season and everyone starts on a level playing field. I have no pre-conceived ideas on who starts at number one through to number 11. It’s a wide open field for all of them.
It’s all right them playing, but they have to be producing. Strikers have got to be scoring goals, midfield players have to be tracking in both boxes and the centre halves have to be making tackles and winning headers, and obviously the keeper has to be making saves. My job at the moment is to make sure that I have alternatives for those that are not doing their jobs.
For instance, we had a look at Chippendale in a position that we know he can play at. He’s left back of wide left. Last season we had players playing out of position like David Worrall. If that ever happens in a game, and it might do at some stage, then you have to deal with it. It gives us an option to look at people.
There is a filtering out process with the trialists, which is what we said we would do. We are still looking to add some experience and what I call first team players in the positions that I think they need to go in. These trialists have had two weeks, decisions have had to be made and I am afraid that some of them will be leaving today.
We are looking at one or two unless they surprise me. Look at Rob Lainton in goal in the second half. He’s 24 and never played a professional game in his life. If you are going to have a professional career then you need to make sure you do well. I’ve made it clear before, we need competition amongst the goal keepers, and I think Rob can do that.
We might not have 26 or 27 players fighting for positions, but I want a good 16 or 17 fighting for positions, and in the second half, one or two of them, put down a little gauntlet for those in the first half. Chippendale, Rooney, and Shaun Harrad showed me something.”
Watch the full interview with the gaffer on Shakers Player