Cinderford Town manager Paul Michael says he is “glad that pre-season is over,” on the eve of his side’s opening league game against local rivals Cirencester Town this weekend.
The Foresters, who beat Cirencester in the Southern League Division One South play-offs last season, are one of the favourites for the league title this time round and Michael spoke of his excitement to finally get going.
“I’m so glad pre-season is over to be honest,” Michael said. “The boys and the management have all worked so hard over the summer but it’s a relief to finally be going all out 100% on Saturday at 3pm with points on the line, that’s what it’s all about, it’s why we’re here.
It’s a great game to start between two excellent teams, I’ve no doubt it’ll be a great advert for the league. Of course it would be great to start with a win but it’s a long season and whatever happens there’s plenty more points to play for,” the Cinderford manager added.
Both Cirencester and Cinderford had byes in the FA Cup to next weekend’s Preliminary Round, meaning they have been without a competitive game during August whilst other leagues have all started for the season and Michael noted the lack of competitive football has shown in the last couple of weeks.
“The long pre-season hasn’t really hindered as such, as we knew the date and planned accordingly coming back later than most other clubs, however, I think our last couple of pre-season games haven’t been quite realistic – because the lads can see everyone else playing at levels above and below and whatever you say it’s impossible to get 100% motivated for games like that,” Michael said.
Ahead of the big Gloucestershire derby this weekend, Michael has confirmed that the Foresters will be without Kieran Alder who is injured, whilst midfielder Sammie Hicks and full back Logan Bowkett are to go out on a loan and dual registration to get key minutes under their belts before returning the fold.
“Kieran Alder is out with an ankle ligament strain suffered at Lydbrook, his is going to be a couple more weeks realistically.
Sammie Hicks is likely to head out for some games to continue his rehabilitation but that’s still got to be managed carefully as he’s making good progress so far and finally Logan Bowkett is going to head to Lydney on a dual registration for a few games to continue his development by getting more senior minutes.
Logan has done great pre-season and at the moment he just needs to keep playing games after a couple of disrupted seasons. Other than that all players are available,” Michael added.
Cinderford Town vs Cirencester Town in the Southern League Division One South will be live on Severn Sport on Saturday afternoon. Listen to the game in full from The Causeway with Ryan Butler & Kelsey De Maria; kick off at 15:00