So my second monthly musings starts with a quick round up of the pre-season games against Ampthill and Oxford United on Saturday 23rd the Ampthill game was a Dons eleven or academy side in truth and Oxford was a chance to see the near complete first team.
I had spoken to Mike Dove ahead of the Ampthill game and he said he didn’t really look forward to these games as it really is men versus boys and can get a bit rough, as anyone who has seen the games at Newport Pagnell and Ampthill will know the opposition want to get one over on MK Dons the professional side and see it as that rather than a game against the MK Dons academy lads so the tackles can be quite unforgiving and the game is often more physical than the youngsters are used to.
But some will argue it’s what they will have to get used to eventually I’m sure; I can understand why Mike gets worried.
Mike also mentioned some of the players coming through and that he had some promising future first teamers amongst them as an aside as it’s cropped before, two of the Ahamed’s are brothers the other is no relation.
So all positive and looking good for the academy the only cloud being the ruling over players signing for clubs within an hour and a half of their homes is to be scrapped meaning talent from clubs such as ours are more likely to be snapped up by the big Prem clubs I thought and said to Mike that seemed a massive step back he did say three parents of current crop had kept their sons here rather than move them and I thought that was fine testimony to our academy and the way it is run.
On the Friday before the games I watched the players on their first day back after the Ireland trip, there were three of us fans there and we all spoke to Karl about the trip and how it went, Karl was pleased with the levels of fitness achieved and I got the impression it would be a regular venue for pre-season, another advantage of a manager in place was the fact most of the players that will play this season were there to benefit from the experience.
I spoke to Jay O’Shea who was pleased to be here and said he had settled in and got on well with the players, I had heard he had signed and this was confirmed later in the day on the Official site along with the other Irish under 21 International Keeper Ian McLoughlin who I think I had said in the last musing was favorite to get the job.
As McClouglin and Bragg were the keepers to play the following day Martin was training with the other players as a right back (he started playing there before his Dad persuaded him to become a keeper) and have to say he was pretty good with some cracking passes and when the players did shooting practice he got all his in the back of the net.
I joked to Karl that this could be the answer to our right back problem and he laughed and said something like “they’ll really think I haven’t got a clue then”
Another familiar face was there in the shape of Stuart Searle who was out for a run with his dog and came over for a chat with Karl and the players, Stuart was at that time without a club and on his way to watch Canvey Island v Chelmsford that evening and was due to meet the manager of Chelmsford while he was there.
Stuart had had trials with Barnet amongst others but was still looking for a club and you have to feel for players who are released and looking as they all have the bills to pay.
In other money type news we now have one of the smaller budgets in the league a far cry from the league two days when it was one of the largest I have heard it is about half of that now but not actually being allowed to look at the figure’s I’ll have to take that at face value, it’s certainly seems likely looking at size of squad and the fact Robbo has never paid for a player.
I also got to have a word with Sam and said I was pleased he was here and he listened to my views on Fry and Darragh and I couldn’t possibly comment on any reply he made as he unlike the above named has kept a professional silence over the events.
As we know we lost both the games at Ampthill and Oxford but had the Spurs game to look forward to and the away trip to Barnet Karl was said to be unhappy at the missed chances but got a lot out of the game with a new formation and players in unfamiliar roles giving him options..or not for coming season.
Ahead of the Spurs game on the Monday I went to Woughton to get an idea of how the team would line up and if any new players had arrived, there were no new players and with Doumbe injured it was anyone’s guess who’d be right back I was surprised to see Searle training with us but was told he would be here to keep his fitness up ahead of a possible position as a keeper for a club further south! Managed to have a chat with Stuart at the end of training and he had been at Barnet for two weeks, before they then brought in another keeper in the shape of Dean Brill such is the cutthroat world of football Stuart said if he went to a conference side it would enable him to pursue his other business interests as any job at conference level would be part time but he did say he wanted to be a number one somewhere though but seemed to be keeping his options open. ( He has since played a PSF for ST Alban’s City).
So the big night arrived and the north London outfit that is Spurs rolled into town fifteen minutes early and before some of our players had arrived as it turned out.
As the Tottenham team arrived I managed to ask Andros Townsend if there was any chance he’d come back on loan but he said nothing has been sorted yet, so he didn’t rule it out but it’s not likely I’d think.
I never saw Harry Rednapp but did get to say hello to Tim Sherwood who had a joke with the waiting fans, Defoe arrived after the others in a range rover as he’d travelled separately the car then went off to fetch another player from the station but I didn’t hear who that was.
I thought we played well and didn’t deserve the score line a draw would have been fairer but there were more positives than negative’s overall and we do have some good players amongst the new faces.
The last game ahead of the new season saw us take on the Bees of the Barnet variety and I was surprised to see Bowditch named in the side having seen him training separately from other players on the Thursday before the game although he was named as a sub not in starting eleven.
We finished the PSF's in familar fashion with a shaky looking patched up defence and strikers not striking with chances missed and had to settle for a draw.
The New season will bring the usual ups and down and we will hopefully see some nice passing football resulting in three points we will see more loan players throughout the season and up to three before the season kicks off I'll be back end of August for a round up and then for monthly thoughts from then.