Ahead of Maidstone United Reserves first fixture at the Gallagher Stadium on Tuesday, team coach Nathan White provides maidstoneunited.co.uk with a squad update.
The reserve team players have been working hard in preparation for the new season. Manager Jim Bodle, alongside new coach John Maynard and I, have been putting an emphasis on training, as well as working hard to improve fitness levels.
On day one of pre season, about 30 players attended training, including some from last season’s squad, as well as a number of players invited along following club trials.
After two hard weeks of training, a squad of 20 travelled to Bridon Ropes FC on Tuesday 17 July to face a tough and physical side who will be looking to win their respective league this season. The youthful reserves did their best to compete both on and off the ball, however the sheer physicality of the opposition left the Stones coming in at half time 2-0 down. In the second half however, Maidstone controlled the match throughout with Ash Greenwood dictating the pace of the game. The young Stones got their rewards as Reese Longville-Daly scored after Greenwood had seen two free kicks go narrowly wide and against the cross bar. The score could have been a lot different by the end if it wasn’t for some poor shooting and a Stones player managing to block a team mates shot on the goal line! A lot of positives to take from and the game, as well as plenty for the coaching staff to plan for training on Thursday night.
On Saturday 21 July, the reserves travelled to Chipstead FC in Bromley to play the Kent Invicta League side. This was another good test for the players who had to work hard for their 3-0 scoreline. Josh James controlled the game with help from the running machine Tom Cackett alongside him. Well-worked goals from Charlie Smith and Joe Hudson upon their return after ‘touring’ Magaluf and the forever sharp Brett Ince didn’t paint the whole picture and again, the Stones probably could have doubled their lead if it wasn’t for some poor finishing and good saves from the Chipstead goalkeeper.
Next, a mixture of first and reserve team players will travel to Erith Town on Monday night before Sheppey FC visit the Gallagher Stadium on Tuesday. The players will get a taste of a match day at the new stadium. All this before the management team have to try and whittle down an appropriately-sized playing squad for the season.
The link between the reserves and the youth teams is ever strong as ever. This can only assist the reserves and first team by attracting the best local talent for the club.
The reserve team pre-season fixtures. (Kick off times are subject to change):
Tue 24 vs. Sheppey (Home) ko 19:00
Sat 28 vs. Bearsted (Home) ko 15:00
Tue 31 vs. Woodstock (Away) ko 19:00
Fri 3 vs. Lordswood (Home) ko 19:45
Fri 10 vs. Guru Nanak (Home) ko 19:45