As the new season approaches, Sol Campbell took some time out of his busy pre-season schedule to update us on the progress of the team, starting with his take on the Blackburn friendly -
“It was a very good work out for the lads.
“All week we were working hard and the loading is important for me because I want the guys to go through all the levels, then play the game and be a little bit tired in the game because it’s important they get used to that level and intensity. Also with Blackburn, they had a really good squad out and they tested us and it was a great work out for the guys.
“We held our own, but it was a good game for us especially in the first half. We kept the ball really well.
"We just needed more quality in certain areas, but that’s what pre-season is all about - ironing out certain problems and getting fit.”
Although the Blackburn and Wigan friendlies both ended in defeat for The Silkmen, the manager believes his players can take confidence and experience from the performances against higher level opposition.
“It’s a marker for me and the players, and how far they’ve come in a short space of time. The two teams we’ve played against, their budget dwarfs ours. We held our own and it’s a lot of experience for us.
“I want them to get used to that type of level because we’ve got a cup game against Blackpool and I’m mindful that I want the lads to be used to that level of football.”
Thursday saw the arrival of defender Theo Vassell to the Moss Rose and Sol shared his thoughts on this signing and the possibility of more new faces.
“Theo has come in - he’s had his education in Stoke and he’s done really well. Athletically he’s sound and passing-wise he’s looking good, his awareness is good.
“There are obviously things we can polish up which will all naturally happen throughout the season as he gets better and stronger and used to the intensity I love. I think he’s got a good head on him and touch wood it all goes well for him this season.
“We’re working on new signings. There are places that we’ve got to strengthen, and if some players do move on we have to anticipate that. Until the end of the transfer window we’ve got to be on our toes.”
With just a couple of weeks to go until the start of the new season, the manager is looking to make the most of every opportunity to prepare the team.
“They’ll be in Saturday doing some tactical work. We’ve got a month pre-season, so I’m not going to give a weekend off if we haven’t done anything - it’s pointless.
“It’d be good to get the lads together to do some technical work. We can break the midfield, defence and forward line into units and really concentrate on how we want to play. We have to utilise the time to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”
Macc’s next test will come away at Leek Town on Tuesday night, a game which Sol anticipates will involve another mixed team of trialists and signed up players.
“It will be a mixture, and it will be until the beginning of the season. It may be 70/80% done but there’ll still be a few trialists.
“We need to assess things and see how people are progressing and sometimes pre-season is tough. Some guys can’t make it through pre-season and we need to find an alternative. Sometimes players miss big chunks of pre-season and we’ve got to assess how we implement these guys in. It’s difficult if you get a few players missing, you’ve got to get trialists in just in case.”
By Thomas Rowbottham