IT HAS been an excellent beginning to The Pics pre-season and ahead of our Tuesday night fixture at Heath Hayes we caught up with Manager Neil Kitching who told us he was well pleased with what he has seen so far to date.
Pre-season has been really good so far and to pick up three wins from our first three games is pleasing. I was delighted, not only with the result, but the performance as well against Blue Square Bet Premier Division outfit Tamworth. Our 2-1 win was well deserved and it was a positive performance against a full time outfit that are training five days a week.
I am well pleased with our fitness levels as well, the lads have returned after their break in good condition, and although there is still plenty to work on fitness wise, we are up to speed.
With around seven or eight players joining the Club in the summer we wondered how the team spirit was coming along
I have been delighted with the how the squad is gelling together. Obviously we have brought in a number of new faces but the new lads have come in and got on well with the lads who were here from last season and it bodes well for the future.
There are still plenty of pre-season games ahead of us and the Manager is looking forward to them
The games ahead of us should prove good tests for us. The likes of Redditch United and Stourbridge are sides at the same level as we are and we still have a Walsall XI to face as well. Whatever side they send down will prove a good work-out for us. I am one of those people who actually think that results in pre-season do matter. While I accept that we can use them for fitness, work on shape etc, I expect the players to go out there and perform as normal. After all players should be using them as well to try and force their way into the team/squad and the only way they will do that is by playing well
`Kitch` was also delighted that striker Michael Clarke got on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win at Boldmere St. Michaels last Saturday.
Yes, I was delighted with the two goals that Michael scored. At the moment Michael is still a long way from being the player that we know he is but what many supporters will not realize is the fact that he has been playing with a tight thigh. We have been nursing him through pre-season, and the games so far, but he has been restricted a little in the training he can do. We have also asked him to play a little differently than he is used to, to try and protect the injury, but we know that Michael will be a big player for us this season.
Heath Hayes is up next and we wondered what sort of team will be facing the local side7
It is a first team fixture and what we are trying to do now is to give the players more game time. We started off by giving them forty five minutes but we are now looking at giving them sixty/sixty five or even seventy minutes before we start making substitutions. For the game at Heath Hayes we are without a couple of players through injury and works commitments and the players who didn`t start at Boldmere on Saturday will start on Tuesday night. We have a busy week ahead of us, with a game on Thursday and then this Saturday so it is important to rotate the squad.
With around seven or eight new players joining the Pics during the summer will there be any more new faces joining us
There may well be yes. I am delighted with the business that we have done but I am hoping to bring in at least a couple more new faces before the start of the season. Andre Landell is joining Brentford this week, doing a week`s training, but if nothing happens there then he has already agreed to join us and Ramone Stephens has also agreed to join. We are still running the rule over a couple of trialists and we will make decisions soon on them as well.
We ended this interview by agreeing that the signs were pretty encouraging for the forthcoming campaign
I think they are yes. We have a squad of around twenty players, including the two goalkeepers, and we look to have plenty of strength in depth. We have some good lads on trial and I think that we are looking a lot stronger than last season. The team did really well to end up in eighth spot but towards the end of the campaign we knew that we had to change things around for the coming season. That is no disrespect to the lads that were here, and did so well for us, but we are looking to kick on and move forward and we knew the types of players that we wanted. We have managed to go out and get them and we are all looking forward to the new season.