Andy Scott is relishing the prospect of completing The Shots’ pre-season schedule against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, and sees them as the perfect opposition in the lead-up to the first Vanarama Conference fixture against Altrincham.
Scott has stated that he wants to effectively treat the match as a league game, with both the starting XI and levels of performance. “We want to start nailing down individuals in their particular positions,” he explains, “about how they fit within the team. That’s something that we can really nail down in the next week.”
Although disappointed with several aspects of the display, Andy also drew positives out of Tuesday’s trip to Gander Green Lane, and recognised the old adage of learning more in adversity than victory.
“I think Sutton United was probably quite a beneficial exercise for those first-team players who didn’t play, to see the difference in the first-half and the second-half with what we want to do and how we want to play, in terms of application and energy and intensity.”
Scott’s roster is building nicely, with depth and versatility to the fore, but neither squad nor first-choice XI are set in stone just yet, and he admits that “we need to bring a couple of players in”.
“I’ve got in my mind what the team is going to be against Altrincham but that doesn’t mean that my mind can’t be changed in the last few days. It’s giving everybody an opportunity to stake their claim for a place in the starting line-up.
“The fact that we have got a small squad means that players will have to play in several positions. That’s what pre-season is for, I’m not really that interested in anything other than learning about my team and my players, and how the individuals work together.”
Professionalism, too, has been a key quality. “Training has been a much better standard than it was last year. The players are identifying where they are making mistakes, and jumping on it. There’s a different attitude around the place, that they won’t be tolerated. That’s encouraging, because we can’t accept people making mistakes.”
The Wombles will provide a stern test for The Shots, with a team which may feature the familiar faces of new signings Mark Phillips, Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa. “They’ve made some very impressive signings in the summer,” praised Andy. “They look like they’re going for it, they’ve got strength in depth, they’ve got a big, strong squad with some very good players. With the squad that they’ve got they should be challenging for promotion. It will be a good test for us.”
There is, though, a degree of optimism around the Electrical Services Stadium, bolstered by the completion of the Club’s CVA.
“To exit two years in advance is a real credit to everybody involved. It’s important that we stabilise this Football Club, and we’ve got a long-term view of its future. As long as everybody knows where they stand, we’ve got a good future ahead of us where we can build slowly and make sure that this is a prosperous club.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 3pm. Admission is £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.