THE season is rapidly approaching and we are all excited to get things kicked off on August 17.
But I have an admission to make.
Pre-season has gone very well so far. Probably too well to be honest but I’m expecting some tough tests in the next few games.
We have been picking up good results and performances have improved along the way.
It’s always interesting as a manager to see how the players adapt to different scenarios on the pitch. How do they react when going a goal down? How do they adapt to a formation change the opposition make?
We try to pick the opposition in pre-season to test ourselves in different parts of the game and it’s been a case of ‘so far so good’.
Pre-season results can be misleading at times for how the season will play out but I would much rather be winning games of football than losing them.
I must admit my first pre-season as a manager has been a busy one and not just because of signing players and putting them through training sessions.
I have also been involved in the club’s holiday courses, which launched when the schools finished in July.
We are providing coaching during the school holidays for 6-12 year olds and we are running two more during the month of August.
Myself and John McCombe ran the latest course and we had some great little players and even better characters.
It’s another part of being more active in the community and we had first team players Kyle Brownhill and Joel Logan in attendance too.
As much as results are important, getting a connection to the local community is just as big for us and it is something we will be really working on over the coming months.
Management has been a bit of an eye opener for me, not least because of the business of bringing players in.
It is not just a case of phoning up a club and a couple of days later a player signs.
There are contract negotiations, organising trials and making sure you are able to be contacted – I think there’s been smoke coming off my phone this summer!
Trials have worked after we signed Jacko Hardacre after he came in and we liked what we saw and getting links to clubs further up the food chain is also paying off.
In terms of this season, obviously promotion is the aim on the field but getting stronger links off it is also high on my list of things to do.
And it has been a pretty long one!