REDDITCH United boss Paul Davis admitted he has been “pleased but a little surprised” at how ready he believes the players are for the new season after only two pre-season friendlies.
After welcoming 32 players to pre-season training on June 28, Davis said he was delighted with the application of all of them.
“As has been well-documented, the club has been working hard behind the scenes to bring in players that I believe will allow us to move up the table this season (the Reds finished 14th in the previous Evo-Stik South Premier campaign),” said Davis.
“In terms of training, the players have worked tremendously hard. They’ve had to face the challenging heat which, considering the demands that my staff and I are putting on them, has been pleasing.
“While tough, once the season begins, they will reap the rewards for putting in such a huge amount of effort.”
The focus soon turned to building match fitness levels as the Reds welcomed League Two outfit Port Vale to the Trico Stadium last Friday.
Former Reds’ favourite Dior Angus opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Nyeko Sinclair levelled in stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw – a result Davis felt his side deserved – but more pleasingly he was thrilled with the players’ match sharpness.
He said: “I was very pleased, but I was a little surprised at how ready the players looked and how comfortable they were in possession of the football. The least we deserved from the game was a draw which, against EFL opposition, is a credit to the players.”
Consequently, Davis was left frustrated by the Reds’ disappointing ball retention and concentration levels during the 3-3 draw with Studley on Tuesday, especially in the first half.
“During the first 45 minutes we were poor with the ball and made some costly decisions. We deserved our 2-0 deficit at half-time,” added the manager.
“In the second half, however, we were much better and showed encouraging signs ahead of the new season by coming back to lead 3-2. A further lapse in concentration cost us a win, but I was satisfied with many aspects of the comeback.”
After utilising 23 players throughout pre-season already, Davis will continue to monitor his squad as he prepares for his first season in charge at the Trico. The Reds are back in action on Saturday when Romulus are the visitors in a 1.30pm kick-off.
Adults can get in for £5, concessions £3 and under 16s with an accompanying adult are free.