Squad 'chomping at the bit'
Dave Robertson says his squad are very keen to get going for the first home pre-season game of 2016 when Liverpool under-21s visit The Showgrounds tomorrow evening at 7pm.
Having started pre-season with a convincing 7-0 win away to Charlestown Athletic this game will be a step up for the Bit o’Red.
All eleven of Robertson’s new additions to the squad are set to feature with many playing for the first time this year.
The only absentee will be John Russell as he continues his recovery from surgery late last year. But Robertson confirmed his recovery is going well and he’s on course to play a part later in pre-season: “John is the only ones who won’t play as he is still recovering fully from his surgery. But he is likely to feature before the end of pre-season. He has maintained his fitness levels and is in very good shape.”
He also confirmed that though Tim Clancy will take the captain’s armband for this game no decision regarding the captaincy for 2016 has been made yet and it will be announced close to the beginning of the new season.
With three and a half weeks of training under their belt he added that his squad are anxious to show the fans what they can do: “The focus tomorrow will be to transfer what we have been doing in the training pitch into a game situation. This will be a good test for us to see where we are at against good, solid opposition. All the players are chomping at the bit to get out there and get going.
“I am very happy with the fitness levels of the players after three weeks of training. There is still three and a half weeks before the first game of the season against Shamrock Rovers so we will still work more. But where the players are currently I’m very pleased with and that will only continue to improve over the next three weeks.”
The game bring Rovers new manager up against a long-time friend in Michael Beale he first met 15 years ago: “Michael is someone I have a lot of respect for as both a person and a coach. He has done a fantastic job with Liverpool and you can see that with the players they are producing. I think he has a fantastic future as a manager long-term. You only have to look at the work he has done already with Chelsea as well as Liverpool.”
Robertson expects the two teams to put on a good display of football for the big crowd that is expected to be in attendance: “It should definitely be an entertaining game, it will be end-to-end for sure. I hope the conditions don’t hamper things too much. But I definitely I know that with myself and how I like to play and Michael Beale has the same style the fans should definitely be in for an entertaining evening.”