Q: So tomorrow see’s our first pre-season friendly against EFL League One Rotherham United, how has the preparations gone for this game?
Ben: “Preparations have been smooth since we started back for pre-season on the 25th of June. We’ve had a great turnout from players wanting to play for the club, which is highly encouraging and means we must be doing something right, there’s a certain buzz around the club. We’ve had four good solid training sessions before the Rotherham United game, but we would have liked more but got to be realistic for the level where currently at. The squads shaping up nicely, the lads are getting fitter with each session, so we’re just where we want to be at this stage.”
Q: As a former professional player yourself, you will know more than anyone what level the Rotherham United players are going to be at but how are you preparing the lads to face what will be no doubt a very tough test?
Ben: “Playing Rotherham United will not only be a great occasion for us as a club, but as an whole, especially for our lads as there’s nothing better than testing yourself against a professional club. Rotherham will be much fitter than us training day-in-day-out, but our lads will be excited and well up for it but most of all we’ll tell them to enjoy the occasion whilst gaining that vital match fitness. It’s going to be tough but we will continue to implement our philosophy on the team and play the right way, hopefully we can hold our own and put on a performance.”
Q: The pitch at roundwood is looking arguably the best it’s ever looked, so you think this will work in Rotherham United’s advantage?
Ben: “I’ve played on worse Football League pitches! Honestly, credit to the Chairman (Albert) and the ground staff who take great pride in keeping the standard of the pitch the best. It’s got to be one of, if not, the best in the area or even non-league. Rotherham United will love playing on it and be encouraged by what they see that’s for sure. It’s makes for a great game of football, hopefully.”
Q: As player-coach for the first team, you take majority of the training sessions, so how have the new additions looked throughout pre-season and what do they add to the squad?
Ben: “When taking sessions all can you ask from the lads is to buy into what your trying to implement and 100% effort. We train maximum twice a week so when we are, we’ve got to be at it from the off. I can’t fault any of the lads’ attitudes who we’ve retained from last season and also the new additions who have also been different class. We had a solid unit in the dressing room last season, a close knit group, so we wanted to bring the right personnel in who could add to that. We’ve made some really strong signings who will improve our squad immensely, and it brings with it healthy competition for places. It’s exciting to see how far we can go this season and we’re going to give it a good go!”
Updated 11:49 - 5 Jul 2019 by Parkgate FC Media