Ottery manager speaks about the players return to pre-season training


- Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary’s footballers have been back for two pre-season sessions and so now is a good time to touch base once again with new Otters boss Billy Rouse.

First up, we asked the Ottery manager what it felt like to get to work with his players.

He said: “It’s been great getting back to it. “A few lads had been doing individual sessions and I just thought it was time to get back to it all together and all of the lads have reacted positively.

“It may seem early, but the players who I previously coached at Cronies were itching to get back and the Ottery lads have been the same.”

He continued: “The numbers of players turning out has been excellent. With the club having three men’s teams next season we clearly need a lot of players and we’ve certainly had that.

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“Training is currently split into two sessions - current Ottery players and then new players looking to join the club.

“We are being very mindful of all the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and so, given the large numbers that we have had, it had meant that we have needed to tweak a few sessions to enable everything to be done in a safe environment.”

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One thing that might have been a problem was the fact that there has been a big influx of former Cronies players to mix in with those players who were still at Ottery having played for one of the two Washbrook Meadow teams last season.

However, the new Otters boss is delighted with how the first sessions have gone.

He says: “I was apprehensive at first because I was worried about creating a divide, but when I took a step back, I realised it was a great opportunity for the current Ottery players to prove themselves in their own environment.

“The lads have applied themselves well to the sessions we have been doing and are starting to get to grips of how I coach.

“I can’t wait to start mixing the two groups together as I think the competition will bring the best out of everyone involved and we hope to have three very competitive teams!”

As to getting teams back onto the pitch, we rounded off this chat by asking the Ottery boss when he felt we might see some return of league action.

He said: “I hope we will return in September, as normal or perhaps without supporters. I know that the FA has said recently that Steps One to Seven won’t be starting until spectators are able to return but, while I can, of course, see where they are coming from, it’s clear that while the National League clubs are talking about a game scenario where a couple of thousand supporters attend games, at our level it is nothing like that and I think it’s unfair to bracket our level with the top of the non-league game.

“One thing we have been boosted by is the news that pubs and clubhouses can reopen as the boys can all dig in and help make do jobs around the ground and start socially bonding which is going to be a big part of getting everybody feeling as ‘if they belong’ and that’s something I want to see happening sooner, rather than later.”

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