Barnet manager Martin Allen spoke to the club’s official website this week in a bid to keep supporters abreast of all the latest developments as the new season draws every closer. Here is what he had to say:
“For 30 minutes we matched Brentford and were just as good as them man-for-man. Yes, we tired once they brought on fresh legs and were keeping the ball and moving us about the pitch, but I was very proud of the way that the players didn’t give up and kept going.
“Although we lost the game 5-1 not one player gave up or stood there shaking his head and looking at the floor. They ran themselves into the ground until the very last minute.
“These are good signs for the ten-month competition ahead. The last thing you want is for people to turn their back, let their heads go down and stop running back to defend our goal.
“I also noticed that at the end of the game all of our supporters stood there and clapped our players off. This spirit on and off the field will be absolutely vital for us to be successful together.”
On the squad’s fitness:
“It is vitally important as a manager to make the main objective of pre-season to get all of your players through injury-free.
“A lot of our training is done with injury prevention in mind, with ice baths, stretching exercises and pre-training work up in the gym which the players have to undertake every day with Jon Nurse and Graham Stack.
“I am delighted with the application of both of the player-coaches in helping our physio Jayde, and it looks like we are doing well with all the injury prevention practices that we have put into place.
“It looks like we are now clear of all minor niggles and strains, and come Monday we will hopefully have a fully fit squad, apart from Iffy Allen, to choose from for the game on Tuesday night at Margate.”
On squad rotation:
“I’ve rotated players into different positions, sometimes to ensure that they play 90 minutes, but sometimes because we need to have players that are adaptable.
“We have to understand that if we do get any injuries or have people missing from games for any other reason, then we have to have players who are comfortable playing in slightly different positions.
“With a small squad, that is how it is going to be sometimes so we need to prepare for that and now is the time to look at it.”
On Keanu Marsh-Brown:
“With regards to Keanu, we have had enquiries from other clubs but as yet we have had no significant offer, and so from my point of view he is staying.
“Obviously, should we receive a significant offer and the player would want to increase his wages then that would be a consideration for the Chairman to make that decision.
“But at the moment he is happy here, he is really looking forward to the season and he told me that he wants to be part of a successful team here at Barnet which I was delighted to hear.”
On potential new signings:
“Regarding new signings, it is not worth me talking about speculation. We will get it done quickly and quietly, when we can, at the right price that suits the football club. Any news will come out right away on our official website.”
On preparations for Margate:
“All the players are going to have the weekend off to refresh their minds and their bodies. They have achieved a fine level of fitness having completed firstly 45 minutes, then 60 minutes, then 70 minutes and now, most of them, 90 minutes.
“I’m giving the players a couple of days off ready for full training on Monday. They look fit, strong and ready to me. From now on it is all about tweaking and learning about the players and the team for the next two weeks leading up to our first game away at Chester.”