Craig Priest looks ahead to tonight’s game with Blue Square North outfit Gainsborough Trinity....
It’s always disappointing to see a game called off, even more so in pre-season, however I guess the upside is that we won’t have to wait three weeks or so before football returns like we have had to do over the past couple of seasons, as tonight is straight back on the road to face Gainsborough Trinity.
Out of all the pre-season fixtures I think this one will really test us most, Gainsborough are a great side that play good strong football in a fashion similar to ourselves and last season we’re mightily unlucky not to break there promotion duck, losing out in the play-off final 1-0 to Nuneaton Town at the Northolme having beaten promotion favourites FC Halifax 3-2 over two legs.
Having used the first two friendly’s to cast his eye over every player bar the injured Thompson and Speight, oh and Paul Bolland who seems to have slipped into the Bermuda triangle, Paul Cox will now have an idea of his so called strongest eleven and will field them against Trinity tonight as he starts to bed them in over a more testing period of match time. Despite watching the boys myself over the aforementioned two games, I can’t predict the “strongest eleven” and look forward to seeing who Cox see’s as the standout performers so far, I think they’ll be a surprise or two in store!
Gainsborough have a hunger about their play and will be keen to build on what was a good strong season last term, so far this pre-season they’ve seen off Cleethorpes Town 3-1 and held our Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Grimsby Town to a 2-2 draw at the Northolme under the leadership of assistant boss Lee Warren, Warren also took charge for Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Brigg Town as Steve Housham remained on holiday.
Housham looks set to return to the dugout for tonight’s friendly and will undoubtedly be eager to keep the momentum going, casting his eye over trialist Danny Hone, who scored one of the two goals against Brigg (The other coming from a certain Paul Connor) as well as snapping up a deal for former Altrincham front man Damien Reeves, a player said to be attracting the interest of Paul Cox after he finished leading goal scorer in the BSBN with 44 goals.
The game tonight will take a step up in terms of pace and will prove a very tough test in a match which will replicate a league games competitiveness, Paul Cox will again learn about his players and they in turn will learn that nobody has a define right for places – the fight begins and continues will tough tests next week against Hucknall on Monday, a game which could see the younger element get a run following last night’s cancellation, Derby County at the One Call Stadium on Wednesday and Jason Lee’s Boston United next Saturday.
I look forward to watching tonight’s game unfold and watching us take another step towards the season’s curtain raiser with Newport County on August 11th. If you’re heading to the Northolme tonight and want some extra information, click here to download our travel guide.
Our coverage of pre-season continues tonight from 7pm on 106.9FM and via our mm-live page. Wayne Briggs will be back alongside me after missing Tuesday’s trip to Hednesford, we’ll have lots to talk about plus encourage your messages via twitter @mtfcmatters and via text 07982 865 624
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