DARREN BYFIELD expressed his frustration at being unable to field his desired team in Tuesday’s friendly at Stourbridge, but insisted he was largely satisfied by Redditch United’s pre-season work.
The Reds boss has been without numerous players over the past week or so due to holidays and was forced to field four trialists in defence for the midweek fixture against the Glassboys, who won 4-1. Dior Angus was on the mark for United with a penalty.
Byfield was also shuffling his pack in last Thursday’s friendly at Highgate United, which the hosts won 3-1, but is pleased by the fitness levels displayed by his players.
“Obviously there’s an element of disappointment in losing matches on the back of the win over Bromsgrove Sporting, but ultimately pre-season results are not important,” said Byfield.
“Unfortunately, and I’m finding this out with non-League, players will take holidays in late July and August and it’s a pain to be honest!
“However, I’ve been relatively happy with the performances and some of the football we’ve played. Tuesday in particular was always going to be a tall order with such a reshuffled back line against a good Stourbridge side.
“The biggest issue is fitness and the boys are looking sharp. There were a few tired legs in midweek actually, but that’s good because we really have been hammering them in training.
“It’s been hard for the lads, because we’ve really had them running and getting the miles in their legs. We only played our first game of five-a-side yesterday.”
Byfield is well aware fitness levels were not always as desired last season, citing several second half collapses as situations he does not wish to see repeated.
“We looked jaded numerous times in games last season, particularly after Christmas,” added Byfield. “We came flying out of the blocks but couldn’t sustain it and that’s something I’ve had to address and is why I’ve put so much emphasis on fitness levels in pre-season.
“Come September and October, I’ll really think we will see the benefits of our efforts.”
Byfield, who takes his side to Boldmere St Michaels on Saturday, is continuing his efforts in the transfer market.
Having completed the capture of former Nottingham Forest and Notts County striker Spencer Weir-Daley, 31, who enjoyed prolific spells at Kettering Town and Corby Town, Byfield is keen to continue rebuilding.
“We’ve had to say goodbye to Stuart McNaught, who has joined Shepshed Dynamo, for personal reasons, but I am very hopeful on more new arrivals,” he added.
“By this time next week I am anticipating lots of good news.”
The Reds then host Stafford Rangers on Tuesday before visiting local rivals Alvechurch next Friday to conclude their pre-season campaign.
The Southern League Premier Division campaign begins with the visit of Dunstable Town to the Trico Stadium on August 12.