24th Sep, 2020

Alvechurch set for derby clash with Redditch in final pre-season friendly

Redditch Editorial 4th Aug, 2017

MANAGEMENT duo Ian Long and Richard Colwell will have a triple mission this weekend as Alvechurch continue the countdown to the new season.

Firstly, to use their friendly against Redditch United tonight (Friday) at Lye Meadow as the final dress rehearsal for their players before next week’s first ever Northern Premier League South fixture.

Then boss Long and No 2 Colwell will be assessing the challenges ahead by scouting their first few opponents.

Long will be checking out the Buxton v Leek Town friendly tomorrow, with Leek facing Alvechurch next Saturday, while Colwell will take in the Hanley Town v Atherstone Town FA Cup, with the winners visiting the Church in the preliminary round on August 19.

“The season is just around the corner now and there’s still plenty of work ahead,” said Long.

“The friendly against Redditch is the last chance for the players to show me what they can do.

“There are a few things we still need to look at.

“Then on Saturday myself and Rich Colwell will be off scouting.

Long says the excitement is building after seven weeks of training but he admits he has been frustrated by the unavailabilities of several players.

Zack Foster’s ankle injury will now mean he will have to sit out the first few games of the season, while Dave Bellis and Yusufi Ceesay will also miss the Redditch game.

“We haven’t been able to field our strongest side yet because of the players we’ve been missing,” said Long.

“I’m sure other clubs are in the same boat and for a manager it is frustrating.

“It’s up to the players who are available to stake their claim.

“The opportunity is there for the players who come in and grab the shirt.”

Mitch Botfield, who has agreed to join after a couple of years playing in the US College system, will not be back in England until the second week of the season while Ceesay will also not be available untilafter the campaign starts.

Once the season begins, striker Luke Keen will also miss a couple of games through holidays.

Alvechurch’s scheduled midweek friendly against Highgate United was postponed but they had chalked up a fourth win in pre-season last Saturday when they defeated Stourbridge 2-1 at Lye Meadow.

Tom Turton bagged both goals from the penalty spot but Long admitted it was not the best of encounters because the long grass made passing difficult.

“Stourbridge complained and I don’t blame them,” said Long.

“The grass was left long to protect the pitch but it didn’t help with the passing.”

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