Bournemouth manager Paul Groves oversaw two matches against Southern League opposition over the weekend, with a 2-1 defeat at Poole and a 3-1 win at Winchester. The boss was satisfied with how the preparations continued as the side look to step up over the next couple of weeks against some strong opposition.
“Looking at the two games, what we can take from it that the players have stepped up their time on the pitch, and we have come through injury free. The performances have been mixed, and at this early stage, it’s something we can accept to a degree. It is important that we keep extending the players, and we step up next week playing against Conference South clubs and then Championship and Premier League opposition. These games will give us a different kind of test.”
The game at Winchester was played on a bone hard and bumpy pitch and the manager was pleased with how the side adapted to the conditions and how that can stand them in good stead in the future.
“There will be times in the season when the pitch might not be suitable to try and play and to keep the ball, move it quickly and play the ball through as a unit. When that happens, you have to adapt, and we did that at Winchester otherwise we would have brought pressure upon ourselves unnecessarily. The players did well to change to a different way of playing. We haven’t had the time to work on that type of situation, so it was a good exercise and credit to the players.”
With results not the important issue at this stage, how matches go can tell the manager a lot about his players and he feels that this time of the season is to iron out any problems.
“We will be asked questions throughout the pre-season games and we want to see how the players react if they go behind. You want to see how they react to a defeat and sometimes you can learn more from that with regard to character of individuals. You want those questions to be asked now rather than later on.”
Finally, Paul spoke about the excellent contribution of Josh McQuoid at Winchester. The returning striker grabbed a hat trick and Groves was delighted with no only his performance, but also that of his team mates.
“For any player to go out and score a hat trick in the way in which Josh did, a counter, a free kick and a header, is always good. It’s not just about Josh, it’s about the service and support that he gets, but he has to produce as an individual, and he did that.”