The Nailers have begun their pre-season in positive fashion with three victories and one marginal defeat so far, writes Joe Malone.
Their latest victory over a Sheffield United XI proved a good fitness test for Belper, and manager Peter Duffield was delighted with the manner of which the game was played by both sides.
“I thought it was a good occasion.
“These friendly games can be difficult at this level with players being away on holiday and having other commitments as we don’t have a hold on them in the off-season, but it was great to see so many of my players getting minutes under their belts and producing some good football.”
He continued: “It’s fantastic for us having Sheffield United bring a team down to Christchurch Meadow, likewise with Derby County this coming Friday. We understand that they have bigger fish to fry in terms of playing their first team players in bigger friendlies, but nevertheless the players we faced on Friday were very talented individuals.”
Previous to the victory over the Blades, the Nailers travelled to Dinnington FC, where they saw out a comprehensive eight-goal victory, and Duffield was pleased to ‘give something back’ to the smaller teams in football. “As with Sheffield coming to us, we went to Dinnington and provided a test for them. It was of course a charitable event which helped raise good money, and we are delighted to have played a part in that.”
Finally, the manager went to on reveal that the forthcoming friendly fixtures now include an extra spice to the mix, with players now beginning to play for their positions, as well as their fitness.
“The majority of the games we have left are going to be more realistic in terms of the type of game we will face on a weekly basis during the season. Now that the players have worked up a better level of fitness, we’ll be taking extra note to the performances of every player, as we begin to look for our first starting 11.
“Every player knows they are playing for their shirts and positions, and it’s up to them to convince us they are the right man for the job.
“No player is a guaranteed starter at this football club, it must be earned.”
The Nailers were due to play at Handsworth Parramore last night (Tuesday) after the News went to press.
Following this, the Nailers’ next fixture comes on Friday, August 1, against Derby County, (7.45pm kick off).