21 July 2012

Bideford are all set for Truro challenge

Source: Western Morning News

Promoted champions Bideford will kick off their first season in the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division at Bedworth United on Saturday, August 18.

That is the date – and the fixture – to the fore of Sean Joyce's mind as the Robins' manager prepares his side for this afternoon's pre-season Sports Ground friendly against Truro City.

It will be the first time Bideford have played at home since clinching the Division One South and West crown last season.

True to form, Joyce is already excited by the prospect of a new season and a new start. He said: "We've had one training session and have already played two pre-season games.

"You can put on running sessions and get 12, 13 or, if you're really lucky, 14 people turn up to them. You organise a match and you get 24 there. It's just the way it is.

"Pre-season is a means to an end and in my mind that end is getting match-fit and the only way you are going to get match-fit is playing matches."

Last season Bideford played 11 pre-season matches. By next Wednesday – when they visit north Devon neighbours Barnstaple Town – the Robins will have played five friendlies in 12 days.

Joyce said: "We won 3-1 at Ilfracombe away last Saturday and 3-0 at Buckland in the week. We've got Truro, then Saltash United away on Monday and Barnstaple on Wednesday.

"The idea is to play the south Devon-based lads at Saltash on Monday and the north Devon boys on Wednesday. That's the plan, anyway."

Both Joyce and today's managerial counterpart, Truro boss Lee Hodges, plan on fielding as many players as possible today and, therefore, first and second-half sides.

Hodges said: "I've got an idea in my head for a starting XI and then plan to change it all around in the second half.

"Our first pre-season friendly was washed out but we've trained really hard this week, twice. The lads put a lot into it but nothing prepares you for matches like a game.

"We've got a bunch of boys out but I still think we can put out a couple of sides. Martin Watts is back but just running at the moment, Marcus Martin and Stevie Adams are injured, Martin Gritton has been down with us and trained twice but has gone back to London, and Joe Broad is best man at a wedding."

Joyce and Hodges anticipate featuring new players today. Hodges said: "We've had interest from a few players and I plan on giving some of them a run-out. I'm still keen on finding a right-back and a centre-half as soon as possible."

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