Manager Graham Alexander was encouraged by the signs that he saw in Salford City’s 1-0 win at Atherton Collieries on Monday evening.
The Ammies started their pre-season 2019 games schedule with a win courtesy of Mani Dieseruvwe’s 85th minute goal.
It was certainly not through lack of effort that the score was kept so minimal as an energetic and high-tempo first half performance was met by a stern Atherton back line. Michael Clegg’s side are preparing for a season in the EvoStik Northern Premier League Premier Division and he will also have been suitably encouraged by his team’s spirit and determination.
However they did have to soak up a lot of Salford pressure as Jake Beesley, Danny Lloyd, Adam Rooney and Mark Shelton all had noteworthy efforts which were either wide of the target or saved by Greg Hartley, once amongst the Salford ranks.
Alexander rotated things in the second half, playing a different 11, but the script remained the same with Colls clearing a couple of efforts off the line from Alex Doyle and Dieseruvwe. The front man, who scored the opening goal at Wembley in Salford’s last game just shy of two months ago, was on hand late on though to finish off a move initiated by new boy Oscar Threlkeld.
“I was really pleased with both, we played a team in each half, spoke to the lads after the first half and we were really pleased with the application, the ideas we’ve just touched upon in training because we’ve only been in for a week, a lot of it has been physical work so we’ve not touched too much on the tactical side of it.
“The second half I thought it just continued in that form, we created a lot of chances, I thought they played some good stuff at times, defended the goal exceptionally well and made some good saves, good blocks, but the goal we scored was of high quality, a good little pass through from Oscar and Mani made a great bit of movement behind the defender and finished it off.
“But it’s the whole approach to the game, it’s not about the result at this stage of pre-season it’s about how we go about things and we’ve worked exceptionally hard since last Monday, worked hard this morning in training, so all this is an extension of our training day, and I’m so pleased with how we’ve done it tonight.
“There’s little bits we have to improve and we know will improve, we’ve got four and a half weeks or so to do that.”
We won’t have another look at the squad until Friday 19th July when National League side Woking visit The Peninsula Stadium in our next pre-season friendly. Later this week the squad head away to Austria and Alexander says it is a good opportunity to work with the squad.
“I don’t know if the lads are looking forward to it!
“We’re really fortunate that the club are paying for us to go there, it’s a great training venue in Austria, we’ve been there quite a few times as a player and a manager and it gives you the opportunity to work in depth with the players in a week.
“You can get two or three sessions in a day so it’s really valuable time because when the season starts you’re playing Saturday, Tuesday and the training days are quite sparse so these periods when you can really get on the training pitch and work with the players is really valuable and the bonding that they’ll do because there’s not much to do for a modern footballer, there’s not much internet, there’s no Sky TV and stuff like that so they have to actually talk to each other and amuse each other so it’s good.
“It’s great, we go back to basics, work exceptionally hard, but it’s six in the morning to go for a run down by the river and stuff like that so I’m sure they’ll absolutely love it!”