Gaffer looking forward to Market Drayton gameTown boss Micky Mellon hopes tomorrow’s Shropshire Senior Cup match against Market Drayton will see his entire squad get minutes – but insists they will be competitive.
The Town players take to the field in their first outing of pre-season against the North Shropshire side and Micky believes it will be a good spectacle for the fans as well as a good workout for his side.
“It will be about putting on the boots and shinpads and getting used to people being around you and getting used to being on a football pitch again because seven, eight weeks is a long time without playing,” said Micky.
“But they’ll be looking forward to it. It’s local so it’s good for the fans to get up close to the lads and the lads to get on a football pitch and be among people in a game again.
“There are new guys in the group as well so it will be a nice introduction for us to get back into the games as we work towards that first game of the season.”
After two weeks of intense pre-season training, including a team building exercise trip to RAF Shawbury, Micky says his side are now ready to get back on the pitch and insist they will be going out there to win.
“They’ve worked hard,” stated Micky. “The training has been tough but worthwhile so they’re probably ready for that type of game.
“I think it’s always got to be competitive. You’ve always got to try and want to win every game that you take part in. We’re competitive people that want to win every game we take part in so we will go into it wanting to perform we’ll and try to win a game of football.
“In an ideal world, we’d like 11 on then 11 off at half-time but that’s not going to happen.
“We’ll try but personnel and team shape and all that will come into it so you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“We’ll try to get sensible game time into the players’ legs.”
One face missing from the squad will be goalkeeper Mark Halstead, who picked up an injury in training. But Micky believes one mans misfortune is another man’s gain, with Callum Burton’s suggested loan move, now being dismissed.
“He’s (Mark Halstead) tweaked his knee - the grass is maybe a bit longer on the pitches at the minute, and he went to move across the goal and his studs got caught in the turf and he went over on his knee,” confirmed Micky.
“We’ve had it scanned and it’s nowhere near as bad as we first thought but he’ll be out for a week or two.
“Maybe Callum will stay and one of the others will go out on loan now for them to have a look.
“I’ve given someone else an opportunity and we’re blessed with having so many young, talented goalkeepers here so it means a bit of juggling around.
“Callum will play half the game tomorrow and we’ll share it between the two goalkeepers.”
With several new signings looking to impress in their first outing in a Town shirt, there will be one player determined to make a good impression on the management team, with trialist Sam Patterson eager to impress.
“Young Sam is a boy I know from Barnsley and he’s getting a pre-season under his belt and we’ll judge that as we go on.
“He’ll probably play half a game tomorrow and share the match with Matt Tootle.
“He’s a right back, he’s a great kid and he deserves an opportunity to at least get fit.
“And if he impresses in a game and we can free up some money, we might do something.
“He’s available and been released by Barnsley and he played a number of reserve games for us last season and always impressed the coaching staff.”
As well as Patterson looking to earn a deal, Micky remains keen on re-signing two of his promotion winning players Jean-Louis-Akpa Akpro and Jermaine Grandison, who will also be involved in tomorrow’s match.
“I can’t call big Jermaine and Jean-Louis trialists!
“They’ve been brilliant - they want to be here and they’re training and we’re treating them like part of the group.
“So let’s hope we can juggle a few things around and make that happen.
“We still want to do a bit of squad shifting to try to bring the two lads back in because we know how valuable they are to us.
“Everyone is working very hard to make that happen.”