DARREN Byfield has hailed the attitude and commitment shown by his Redditch United squad in pre-season.
The Reds began began their friendly schedule with a 3-1 victory at West Midlands Regional League Premier Division side AFC Bridgnorth on Saturday, before drawing 1-1 at Midland League Premier Division outfit Loughborough University on Wednesday as the hosts equalised two minutes from time.
Whilst he is reading nothing into the results, boss Byfield said his players had shown the effort and desire he is looking for and is also pleased with the fitness levels on display.
“The performance at Bridgnorth was good and so too at Loughborough in the first half, although not so much the second period,” said Byfield.
“We could have put the game to bed in the first half at Loughborough really but that sharpness will come with more games.
“In the second halves of these friendlies it’s common for managers to make lots of changes anyway and that will always disrupt the momentum and flow of a game.
“To some extent, we’ve still got some square pegs in round holes at the moment as I continue to look at things and try different options, whilst we’ve also got some of the lads on holidays still.
“Going forward we have looked good in both games and the attitude is spot on, which is the main thing.
“The lads are listening to what I’m saying, taking things on board and engaging well, so we are on the right path.”
Byfield, who has made former Halesowen Town and Barwell left back Isaac Cooper the latest addition to his squad, said this Saturday will be D-Day for several trialists.
“We’ve got an inter-club friendly and decisions are going to be made after it as to who is staying and who won’t be with us for the new season,” said Byfield.
“I’m still undecided in some cases. Some lads will be pleased and one or two disappointed.”
Former Tamworth striker Jake Healey is one player who has impressed in the opening friendlies – scoring once in both matches so far – and Byfield is likely but not certain to offer him a deal.
Former Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland forward Clinton Morrison has played in both games, whilst fellow striker Jamie Spencer scored twice, including a penalty, in the win at Bridgnorth.
Eli Bako, who starred after joining the Reds towards the end of last season, has particularly impressed Byfield with his performances in midfield.
On Tuesday the Reds face Worcester City in the semi-final of the Worcestershire Senior Cup at Stourport Swifts’ Walshes Meadow home.
The winners will play either Evesham United, Stourbridge or Kidderminster Harriers in the final at Bromsgrove Sporting on Saturday, July 23.
Meanwhile, the Reds have been drawn at home to fellow Southern League Premier Division side Cambridge City in the FA Trophy first qualifying round. The tie will be played on Saturday, October 29.