Town number two: ‘Pre-season results not as important as making sure we are ready for the competitive action’

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK

The Exmouth Town flag that can be seen at home and away games. Picture MARTIN COOK - Credit: Archant

Exmouth Town completed their pre-season schedule with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Elmore.

Town, who are in action tonight (Tuesday), playing an FA Cup tie at fellow Western League outfit Keynsham Town start a new league term next Tuesday (September 8) with a trip to Plymouth Parkway - they play their first home league game the following Wednesday with Tavistock the visitors to Southern Road.

Speaking before the FA Cup tie and reflecting on the pre-season period in general, Town assistant manager Andy Rawlings said: “Kev [Town boss Kevin Hill] and I are not ones to worry about results in pre-season. Of far greater importance to us is looking at players, systems and patterns of play and, from that respect, the pre-season has gone well.

“We have tried some things that have not come off, and others that have. We have been able to give game time to some of the younger players and it is very encouraging, certainly in terms of the long term well-being of the club that we have got young players breaking through into the senior side.”

Town Under-18s won the Wotton Printers Devon Cup on Sunday and that means that two season’s running that particular trophy has come back to Southern Road.

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The Town number two says: “That’s a phenomenal achievement and underlines the top work going on in the Town youth teams. Dan Cullen’s emergence this pre-season and the fact that the Bray brothers have also featured speaks volumes for the high standards we have in the Town Under-18 team and long may that continue.

“The plan has to be for the youth section to give us two or three into the first team squad each season.”

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When pressed on the lack of goals scored in pre-season by last season’s leading scorer Jordan Harris, Rawlings said: “We have no worries about Jordan. Indeed, I’d wager that a blank run in pre-season arguably sets him up to start scoring on a regular basis once the serious stuff begins.

“He showed last year, both with the number of goals he scored and his all-round contribution in matches that he has more than enough ability to be a big player at this level. He will get goals - rest assured of that!”

When prompted on the subject of what Town fans can expect this season, the Town number two said: “Last year, I fancy we slightly over achieved. That said, we are an ambitious club and, with ambition comes high levels of expectancy from supporters and we need to be able to take the pressure that comes with that.

“If there’s one thing we need to improve on from last season then it has to be in the consistency of performance. Last year we seemed to ‘just do enough’ in games we were expected to do well in and then we raised our game for the big matches. This time round we’d like to see far greater consistency both of individual and collective performance.”

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