GRANTHAM Town joint boss Jimmy Albans says his and Wayne Hallcro’s side are “looking fit and raring to go”.
The Gingerbreads begin their Evo-Stik League Division One South campaign two weeks tomorrow, on the back of an encouraging pre-season spell.
Town completed their first competitive match with a 4-2 win over Spalding United in the Lincolnshire County Shield at The Meres on Tuesday night, to set up a semi-final home fixture against Stamford next Saturday (August 6). This came on top of a pre-season schedule that included a 4-1 trouncing of Corby Town last Thursday.
Albans said he did not think the Gingerbreads were far from where he and Hallcro would like them to be at this stage. Albans said: “From now on it is all about making sure we are in the right place mentally and physically for the start of the season on August 13.
“We set out our stall for pre-season to have more training sessions than games late on, and hone what we want everyone to do. Match time and minutes under their belts are the most important things at this moment in time.
“Things are going in the right direction. We have put in a lot of hard work to get good new players accepted into the already good squad we have at the Meres.The way we have done it is working so far.”
Grantham have thus far been without Gary Sucharewycz and Phil Watt. Sucharewycz has been training and Albans said he believes he is now in a position to vie for a place in the team. Watt is still recovering from a broken nose and according to doctors could be out for a further seven weeks. Front man Tris Whitman will also be out for several weeks with a pulled hamstring.
Albans said: “Gary will get the chance to bed in later this week. He has worked hard and put in the time and effort that has been needed to get fit. Competition for places keeps everyone on their toes and knowing Gary is there has put the right sort of pressure on others, while at the same time putting Scrabble under pressure himself.
“Phil had an operation last week which was successful and straightened out his nose. He can train, just has to sit out anything where there is physical contact.”
In his absence, Watt’s place has been filled by Martin Ball and Albans also praised Town’s other defenders and the rest of the team’s performances in matches to date.
Albans said: “It is testament to him [Ball] that we haven’t missed Phil. All of our defenders came out of last week’s games with nine out of 10 as far as I am concerned.
“Sam Saunders and Rhys Lewis dominated the Corby midfield last Thursday. We had too much energy for them and Rhys made a nuisance of himself in their penalty area as well.
“Who scores goals does not bother me. We are playing well up front and creating a lot. I know all the forwards we have at the club will score goals for us.”
Grantham visited Deeping Rangers last night and will complete their friendly schedule with a trip to Rhyl tomorrow.
l Match reports, page 94