Sidmouth Town boss speaks about pre-season so far

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Sidmouth Town boss Josh Stunell takes the Vikings to Okehampton tomorrow (Saturday) looking to see his team make it three wins in three pre-season games.

Town followed up a 1-0 win over Cullompton Rangers in their first warm-up game with a 5-2 Manstone Lane success over Heavitree United last Saturday.

The Town boss says: “Both games could not really have gone any better. The key in pre-season is to get everybody up to speed both individually and collectively to ensure that when the season proper kicks in on August 12, we are ready.”

He continued: “I have been really pleased with the numbers that we have seen in pre-season training and I see a hunger that perhaps was not there 12 months ago.

“A key for me this year is the presence of Danny and Ben Clay in Town strips. The fact that we have two staunch Sidmothians with us for the coming campaign speaks volumes for what I am trying to do with the team. Ideally we’d have a team full of the best footballers that Sidmouth and the immediate area can muster, Danny and Ben being with us has given us a huge lift.

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“In the game against Cullompton Rangers we all saw just what Danny [Clay] brings to the table, he was awesome and bossed the show from first whistle to last.

One particular strength he has is that he is particularly good with the younger players and we have a significant number of them involved with us at Town and they will all benefit from his presence with us in the dressing on the pitch and the training ground.”

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Town are faced with two fixtures less than they had originally expected in the coming South West Peninsula League Eastern Division campaign with the news of the loss of Totnes and Dartington who withdrew from the league earlier this week.

Town boss Stunell is disappointed to see a team go, but not completely surprised. He said: “It is always a shame when a side goes and it does of course mean now that we have two match days when we’ll not have a game. However, it does seem that the modern game is blighted with such problems. There’s a lot of talk about the rise and rise of money in the game, but I don’t buy into that as the reason for teams losing players. Money has been in the game at a lot of levels for many moons and for me I think it’s more of a life issue. These days there seems to be so much going on and so many alternatives to be fully committed to football.”

As for Town and the on-going pre-season period, Stunell says it’s all about one particular thing, something he alluded too when he said: “It’s all about fine-tuning now. I have not made my mind up totally as to who start on August 12 against Torridgeside at Manstone Lane and so now is the time for players to make their mark, be that on the training ground or in pre-season action. We look to have a good strong squad this time given the new faces we have brought in and now it’s about us finding the best combination to make sure that we hit the ground running on the opening day of the league season.”

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