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Train of thought

trainingSW19 popped down to the sports ground by Woodies in New Malden this evening, to get a taste of what our pre-season preparations have been like. Some brief thoughts…

– Most players were there (including a couple I didn’t recognise). No Luke Garrard, who was at a funeral and no Jon Main who was ill.

– The players themselves look like they’re just slightly starting to get back into it. Pre season has always got to be a pain in the arse for players, because they’re not physically and mentally at speed yet, but they have to work doubly hard than what they usually do…

– Trying to listen to TB giving out instructions during game play situations was interesting. As in, bloody confusing. I think he must have talked for about 10-15 minutes on about one or two things before they even went into action. Perhaps players take it all in then when they put it into practice they forget it all? Would explain a lot.

– Did see one unannounced triallist turn up with his mate, who was subsequently sent away to try his luck with Marcus Gayle.

– Guess it must suck to be a goalkeeper, especially one on the fringes of the team. With the exception of Pullen and Jack Turner, they all spent the entire session on their own just saving shots. Which must be the football equivalent of purgatory. And they wonder why goalies are mad…

– Speaking of young Mr Turner, he is deceptively tall. A good 6 foot, apparently, although they’re all giants as far as your editor is concerned.

– Don’t think anyone came back unfit. Certainly DK came back half a stone lighter (or more). They all looked like you would expect them to look in pre-season. Put it this way, nobody looked unfit (although Elliott Godfrey did sit out the session).

– Lewis Taylor also nearly had to sit out the session, but that’s because he got there late. And he managed to avoid another rupture to his cruciate as he nearly ran into your editor. Fortunately, I move quicker than Darren Grieves. Then again, a building moved quicker than he did.

– For the first time tonight since pre-season training started again, it was the first time any of the players had played any sort of match (they had a 10 minute session). To be honest, it showed. None of them look like they could play the 90 minutes yet, which is why you can expect two sets of XI each 45 minutes on Saturday.

That said, when they did start getting into game play procedures again, they did look quite good. Nowhere near sharp enough, of course, and there’s still a long way to go.

And that is perhaps the most important thing of all – nobody stood out but nobody looked dreadful either. At the end of the session, both TB and SC were constantly telling the players that what they were being told was complex, and would take a while to sink in. But it would be worth it. And I think that’s what we’ve got to expect this season – a work in progress.

From this admittedly very early stage, the impression I got was of a young, hungry team that is in its embryonic stages at the moment. There were very few triallists, which suggests a squad that is designed to settle down as quickly as possible.

This was my first ever training session in the AFCW era, and it did seem pretty professional. Even down to the use of mannequins. Comments that they move quicker than Jason Goodliffe will NOT be tolerated. I get the impression that the standard all round has gone up, because there seemed a lot of work on tactics, and two-touch football. The hardness of the ground was a bit of a concern though…

Oh, and never, ever ask Terry Brown to referee a game…