DARREN Byfield says Alvechurch can expect an exhausting afternoon against West Bromwich Albion’s next generation – but it will help ensure they are prepared to the big league kick-off.
Byfield makes his home bow as Church manager on Saturday when Albion U23s line up at Lye Meadow (3pm). The young Baggies swept aside Tamworth 4-2 on Tuesday night but Byfield’s men also chalked up a 4-2 scoreline on the same night in their first friendly at Littleton.
Danico Johnson scored twice for Church, with Mitch Botfield and Taylor Morrison also on target.
Tackling the Baggies will be a tougher challenge but Byfield says it will be another step on the road to full fitness and sharpness come August 10.
“We know it is going to be a tough game – West Brom will control the football and we will have to work hard off the ball,” said Byfield. “But that’s what we are looking for.
“The whole idea of pre-season is to make sure come August 10 we are ready, technically, tactically and fitness wise.
“Like every team two or three weeks into pre-season we are a work in progress. We’ve been working hard on fitness but we’ve really done any work on shape yet.”
Several trialists were involved in the match at Littleton and are again set to feature against the Baggies, though midfielder Rahis Nabi will be a doubt after picking up a hamstring niggle on Tuesday.
Botfield scored within three minutes against the Tonboys, managed by ex-Church pair Tyrone Henderson and Oliver Hartill, before Dean Fisher levelled.
However, Johnson restored the Church lead a minute later after beating keeper Tom Parsons and two markers and then Nabi’s pass provided the chance for Johnson to make it 3-1 at the break.
Morrison added a fourth before Jade Ferron replied for the hosts in the final moments.