He’s packed his kit and cleaned his boots already so it’s fair to say Gloucester City manager Dave Mehew is looking forward to pre-season starting next week.\r\n\r\nPlayers from the first team and the development squad will be returning to training on Monday ahead of a busy pre-season schedule which takes in nine games.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n”I packed my bag the other night,” he said. “All my kit’s sorted ready. It will be good to get back into it and have a look at some of the development lads. They’ve all been invited to come and train with us for the first week.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”We’ve got five sessions before the first game and those first few games will be about fitness more than anything.”\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nOne development squad graduate who Boris will be keeping a close eye on is Matt Liddiard, who will be making the step up to the first team squad in the new season. The Hartpury student, who captained the development squad in their league and cup double, impressed in the handful of Blue Square Bet North appearances he made.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n

Matt Liddiard | Gloucester City AFC

Matt Liddiard in action against Stalybridge Celtic last season

\r\n\r\nBoris said: “Lidds has been promoted, and we are looking forward to seeing him get on and get some game time.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”We also have Lewis Hogg, who is a fantastic signing for us, with those pair it gives us some flexibility in midfield, with them, Darren Mullings and Webby.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”Mike Green the keeper is pretty much new to us, we barely had him last season and the same with Jack Harris, he didn’t really play until Christmas and that was in fits and starts. I know Jack has been working on his fitness and I expect him to be pulling up trees this season. Everyone is fit and ready, it’s not like previous seasons where people have had to sit out sessions and weren’t ready to go.”\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWith plenty of games pencilled in already the Gaffer was pleased to get a phone call from Hereford offering another friendly, it was an offer he said he couldn’t refuse.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”I thought the fans and the players would lynch me if I didn’t give them the opportunity to go to Edgar Street. It’s a fairly local derby and we haven’t been there for a while.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”The Ciren game is a favour to Brian Hughes, obviously he’s a former City manager himself too, but that game is likely to feature development players and the ones who haven’t been to all the sessions. We’ve got a few we know won’t be at all the games, Darren Edwards is about to get married and Morf has gone away to Thailand for six weeks – but at least we get him for two weeks this year, not like last year when the first time I saw him that season was two hours before the Nuneaton game! But not having Morf there means I can look at Davo, at Scott Wilson and possibly at Adam Mann up front too.”\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nCity’s pre-season sessions at Hartpury College have become an annual challenge for squad members as they try to keep up with skipper Tom Webb. One player joked last season that training involves “Webby putting a bib on and we have to chase him.” But the Gaffer reckons the superfit 27-year-old might have met his match this year.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nHe said: “Webby is the main man when it comes to running, it will be interesting to see if becoming a dad at the end of last season has any impact. The only players in recent years who have got anywhere near him were Jack Pitcher and Luke Ballinger but I think Steve Davies and Scott Wilson might get close this year.”\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n
Tom Webb | Gloucester City AFC

Tom Webb leading the runners during pre-season in 2010

\r\n\r\nBut it won’ be all running for the players, as Boris explained:\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”We use the ball more and more now, the players moan about the running but that’s football, it’s probably 65% running, 35% with the ball but we’ve got some nice hills out at Hartpury so it seems a shame not to use them.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”The main thing, with a small squad like ours, is preparation and getting as many players through pre-season without injuries. You will pick up the odd injury but its about protecting the squad and getting them through the games and through training.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”I won’t mind too much if we concede a few goals, you don’t want to get through the whole of pre-season without conceding because you have nothing to get your teeth into once the season starts.”\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nAnd the Gaffer’s been keeping an eye on City’s northern opponents during the summer too. He reckons new boys Chester could be one of the teams to watch.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nHe said: “My instinct says Chester and Halifax will do well. Every year Harrogate are tipped and they never do it, maybe they could do well this year with the money they’ve rumoured to have spent and Gainsborough could be in there, they did well last year.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n”Bishops Stortford had a great end to the season, when their new manager came in they were nine points behind us, they travelled well last season if they do that again they could be the dark horses.”\r\n\r\n 

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