Barry Smith was happy with Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Hampton and Richmond Borough but promised both his players and Shots fans that he will be a hard task master throughout the coming season.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the performance and the work-out,” he admitted, “but we want to get better and we’ll grow as a team as well. I’m a hard man to please! That’s why I’m the manager and I demand it off the players. They know what’s expected of them and if they fall below their levels, I’ve got a problem.”
Utilising a different formation in each half, Barry also saw progress in implementing his new style of play. “We played two different shapes and both were productive. It’s still early pre-season, and we’re by no means the finished article, but I think you would be able to see the ideas that we’re trying to get across.”
The margin of victory could have been greater but for several fine saves from Beavers goalkeeper Seb Brown, who in particular denied Charlie Walker three times during the first-half, but Barry still had praise for the former Luton Town striker.
“Charlie has had a couple of chances and he may not have taken them today but the good thing was that he kept going in – he wasn’t scared to go in and miss and that’s great for a manager to see a striker who doesn’t shy away from taking the responsibility. He’s got good movement and that will hold him in good stead for the season.”
With a further behind-closed-doors friendly against Cardiff City scheduled for Wednesday, Barry’s pre-season plans continue apace ahead of the first Vanarama National League game of the season on 8 August. “We’ve been very fortunate,” explained the former Dundee defender, who was only missing striker Matthew Barnes-Homer from his squad, absent as a precaution against a slightly tight quad muscle. “We’ve not had a lot of injuries but that’s down to the training that they’re getting and Rush Clash looking after them to make sure that they’re doing the right things.”
On a warm day beset by travel problems, Barry had one word for his first experience of The Shots’ away fans: “Brilliant. The fans have come here and supported the boys just by being here, and it’s not the easiest place to get to, I’ve found!
“There is going to be hard times this season, there will be tough periods, and these fans will get us through it. That’s important to the Club and to the players – we’ll thank them at every game they come to because they’re an important part of Aldershot Town. That’s the way forward, everyone gets together and we get behind each other.”