Craig Priest writes…
Ever since the pre-season fixture with Chester was announced, I’ve been looking forward to it. Whilst games against Forest, Coventry, Sheffield Utd and Wednesday night’s opposition Peterborough all provide tests against stronger league opposition, the test against Chester pits Champion against Champion – I believe it’s these type of matches which best tell you the areas you need to improve.
You can understand I hope then why when I read the Chester match would be used to field some trialists, I was bitterly disappointed. Fair play Paul Cox has to use some games to cast his eye over players without a deal but I firmly believe that Chester, who won the Conference North last term, will provide a better test for our Champions than Peterborough – No disrespect intended to the Posh.
We all know what being a Champion consists of, fight, grit, determination and belief – Chester FC know all about this having fought back to rise from the ashes following the demise of Chester City in 2010. Neil Young has delivered successive promotions to get Chester, who still carry the history of Chester City, back into the conference and some bookies are tipping them for a football league return within the next two seasons. Chester in my opinion have a lot of similarities to ourselves, they’ve had their troubles and have come through it, finding a board with the club at heart, and a manager that shares the love and ambition for success. They are us but lower in the pyramid, next season they’ll battle to take our crown – I can think of no better test for our squad prior to the league two season.
I’m disheartened by the fact tomorrow will be a “run out for trial players” and desperately hope that it doesn’t become an eleven representing Mansfield Town FC (ala Rainworth in 2011), instead I hope that Paul Cox sends a strong side to Chester which includes no more than five trialists throughout the squad.
So far the players already contracted have had a similar amount of time on the pitch so its difficult to guess who will play in which match – I was impressed by Godfrey Poku during the Worksop match and Ryan Tafazolli, Jake Speight and Sam Clucas against Forest, I’d certainly like to see more of them and maybe even a “last chance saloon” type run out for George Pilkington – After this weekend’s match with Sheffield United there will be four friendly’s remaining, I don’t wish to see any tinkering with the side from then on in, structure needs to be placed.
At the time of writing it’s not clear on who the trial players are apart from Nathan Arnold whose been training with the club since the start of pre-season. I’d guess that Jordan Robertson, who scored in the match against Worksop, would be given another chance along with Evan Garnett, however with a striker said to be on his way to the club, maybe not.
Whoever has a run out in the Amber & Blue tomorrow night at Chester, I hope the managements mind is made up soon – we need to get our structure together, and a win to boost morale!
Wednesday night’s match will be a stern test as Peterborough United arrive at the One Call Stadium. Relegated from the Championship on the final day of last season, the survivors from that Posh squad will want to show the only Ferguson left in football management why they can help Posh to bounce straight back.
In all honesty both games are excellent tests for our champions, however the scheduling of the matches on our behalf has taken the sting out of the tale. A Stags side should have been playing Buxton tonight, but it was cancelled as logistically three games in as many nights just wasn’t going to work.
Hopefully after Wednesday we’ll know more about what our squad is looking like and hopefully have a replacement for Matt Green – two tough tests ahead, fingers crossed they’re used to full affect.
CHESTER: Full match commentary via StagsPlayer, Martin Shaw will be my guest from 7.25pm
PETERBOROUGH: Regular updates from 7pm, via our MM-LIVE Page
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