The Bees’ manager chats to barnetfc.com…Martin Allen feels that this weekend’s game against Oxford United will provide a good test for Barnet, with just a week to go until the season gets under way.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match, Martin said:
“It’s a good measure for us - Oxford United were obviously promoted last year.
“They had a fantastic season and enjoyed a good cup run as well.
“Michael Appleton deserves a lot of credit and he’s had good backing too.
“The club is growing and growing – I understand that they’re getting a new stand behind the goal.
“They’re definitely on the up and they’ve got some good young players coming through.
“Oxford beat us at The Hive last year so there is no doubt that it’s going to be a hard game.
“They’ve got some quality players and it will be another good test for us.
“We haven’t got the money that Oxford have, that’s for sure.
“But as we’ve seen from the Euros and from Leicester City winning the Premier League, you don’t need to have shedloads of money.
“You need to pick the right players and the right people.
“We’ve got good people here at Barnet.
“All the players in the squad – whether they’re in the team or not – are all fully focused on getting success for the supporters and for the football club.
“Oxford are a good role model for us to follow though.
“The club has been very well run, very well looked after and they’ve got those good young players coming through.
“That is something that I’d say we need to aspire to over the next ten years or so.
“All our pre-season friendlies so far have been good tests in different ways.
“Ipswich Town are in the Championship so that was a good test and Gillingham nearly got promoted from League One – that was a good test too.
“Some of the other matches against non-league opposition have been good, so the Oxford game is just another step before the start of the season.
“We’ve got a good squad of players, I’m very happy and we’re doing alright.”
Martin also had an injury update for Barnet fans, saying:
“James Pearson has got a little knee injury – he’s had a scan and we’re waiting for a consultant’s report to come back.
“It’s likely that he needs to have surgery and we’re not sure how long that’s going to take.
“James has come back tremendously fit, having worked hard all through the summer.
“The injury is a real disappointment because this is going to be his first full season in league football.
“But as we’ve seen, Harry Taylor came in against Ipswich Town & Gillingham and played extremely well.
“These players are here to step into the team and he’ll do that.
“Nana Kyei has an injury as well, which is also disappointing – he was set to play last week against Gillingham.
“But he has twisted his ankle and got a ligament strain out on the training pitch.
“There’s nothing we could have done about that one and he’s probably out for another month.
“Gavin Hoyte is progressing fantastically well and is really training hard.
“He’s spending quite a lot of time up in St George’s Park getting fit.
“Gavin is probably still three months away though.
“Jamie Stephens is probably a month or so away; it’s important that we get him fit but we don’t want to rush him.
“It’s a long season and he was struggling at the end of the last campaign.
“His injury didn’t quite clear up over the summer, but he’s coming along well and working really hard.
“I hope that Mauro Vilhete doesn’t mind me saying it, but congratulations – his girlfriend gave birth to a lovely little boy on the day of the Eastleigh game, so that’s why he didn’t play down there.
“Mauro has trained throughout the summer and has come back in good shape, so he’ll only need a couple of games before he’s ready to challenge for a place in the first team squad.
“You never know in this game if there will be any more players coming in or going out before the season starts.
“Someone could come in and make a bid and a player could go if it is acceptable to the Chairman.
“Anyone could leave any day, it depends how much the other clubs offer.
“From my point of view, I said that some of the players could leave to get first team opportunities.
“But we’ll have to wait and see about that one.
“We’re hoping to get a loan goalkeeper in, which should be signed and sealed shortly.
“We’ve got a goalkeeping coach starting tomorrow on a part-time basis too.
“He’s called Carl Muggleton, who I had with me at Notts County.
“He is a champion from our time at Gillingham as well.
“Carl has won this division, as has James Russell, so that’s now three of us who have a championship medal at this level.
“I believe that it is great to have these kinds of people at the club, so Carl will be replacing Graham Stack at Barnet.”