16th Aug, 2018

Harris - Redditch United players still gelling

Redditch Editorial 3rd Aug, 2018

Redditch United boss Paul Davis admits his players are “still gelling” – but the team “will be ready” by the time the season kicks off against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

The Reds were beaten 2-1 at The Loop on Saturday, which was the team’s penultimate match of pre-season, and Davis acknowledged his team is continuing to develop ahead of the Evo-Stik South – Premier Division Central opener in less than two weeks’ time.

“Saturday’s game was another useful test against a very good team. Didcot’s squad has been together for a couple of seasons, and they only just missed out on promotion last year, so we knew we would be in for a tough afternoon – it felt like a typical Southern League fixture!” he said.

“We have a new squad, and we have only been playing and training together for a couple of weeks, so it will take time for the squad to gel completely, but every game and training session is a positive step in achieving the right balance and chemistry. The staff, players and I know what improvements are needed before the opening league game against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.”

Tomorrow (Saturday), the Reds conclude their pre-season campaign when they travel to take on Welsh premier outfit, Barry Town (3pm KO) Davis revealed why this fixture carries significance.

“We chose this fixture as our last pre-season game because of Barry’s stature as a top-flight Welsh club and the challenges that will bring. We have enjoyed a productive pre-season so far, and I expect us to use this game as another step in the right direction and build up our levels so we only need to fine-tune in the week leading up to Diamonds,” he said.

Meanwhile, Davis admitted Alvechurch “fully deserved” their Worcestershire FA Senior Cup Final victory after beating The Reds 3-1 at Evesham’s Jubilee Stadium last Thursday.

The Church took the lead on 37 minutes through Josh March before Declan Benjamin equalised on the stroke of half-time; however, two second-half strikes from March and a Tom Turton penalty – after March was fouled by Thomas Fishwick – consigned Davis’s side to defeat.

Davis acknowledged the better team won on the day but lamented individual errors: “We played OK for an hour, then individual mistakes cost us – it is a problem that my staff and I will address before the start of the season.

“Alvechurch have a good squad and have been together for a number of years – it was evident throughout the game. They deserved to lift the trophy, so congratulations to them.”

Ticket prices for the opening fixture at AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be announced in due course.

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