12th Dec, 2019

Byfield: Patience is key in pre-season

Redditch Editorial 27th Jun, 2019

DARREN Byfield says he remains relaxed about rebuilding Alvechurch’s squad, even if he has to wait until the final week of pre-season to complete his summer revamp.

Byfield takes charge of his first session as Church boss on Saturday when the players report for their first training get-together.

With seven new recruits to replace eight departures and with five players so far committed to staying from last season’s play-off squad, Byfield is happy with his business since taking over from Ian Long last month.

However, the hunt for reinforcements will continue and Byfield knows patience will be a virtue.

“I’m still a novice in management but I’ve learned from previous pre-seasons that it pays to be patient,” said Byfield. “You have to keep some of the money in your budget because players will become available.

“We are all fighting the bigger clubs for players and they can’t sign everybody. It will get to the stage nearer to the start of the season when players realise they won’t be playing.

“There are targets in mind but you know you always have to have a second, third, fourth and fifth target.

“I’m relaxed about the situation. Working for the chairman at Alvechurch (Richard Thorndike]) and the chairman at my former club Walsall Wood (Justin Hodgkin), I’ve never felt so relaxed because I feel they trust me.”

Although striker Aaron Lloyd has become the seventh player from the squad which finished fourth in Southern Premier Central last term to follow Long to Stourbridge, midfielder Mitch Botfield has confirmed he will be staying at Lye Meadow.

He follows Kyle Morrison, Taylor Morrison and Jamie Willets in remaining at the club, along with Josh Ezewele who is on contract.

Alvechurch have already snapped up Ant Smith (Continental Star) and Danico Johnson (Redditch) as well as bringing in Javia Roberts, Stuart McNaught, John Atherton, Lloyd Ransome and Kyle Rowley from Walsall Wood and Byfield suggested he will also be looking at several trialists in the next few weeks.

Church will have eight warm-up matches to prepare the squad for the league kick-off on August 10 and he cannot wait to get started.

Pre-season will be very different to the ones he recalls as a youngster with Aston Villa 20-plus years ago.

“In those days, you didn’t see the goals for a few weeks of pre-season training, let alone getting on the ball. It was just run, run, run,” said the former Jamaica international, who made more than 400 League appearances.

“The goals used to be tied up by the wall. It was crazy, it was soul-destroying. Those old-school days are gone.

“We’ll work hard but we’ll work hard with the ball. That’s the best and most enjoyable way to get fit.”

<b>FRIENDLIES:</b> Tue July 9 v Littleton, A (7.30); Sat July 13 v Walsall Wood, A (3.00); Tue July 16 v AFC Wulfrunians, A (7.30); Sat July 20 v Leamington, H (3.00); Tue July 23 v Westfields, A (7.45); Sat July 27 v Aberystwyth Town, A (2.30); Tue July 30 v Halesowen Town, A (7.45); Sat Aug 3 v Evesham United, H (3.00).

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