The Cards play their penultimate (but last home) pre-season friendly tomorrow (Wednesday) evening when a QPR XI visit Kingfield. Why not come down and whet your appetite for the season ahead? If you’ve not seen the Cards’ new signings yet, this is a great chance to run your eye over them before the season starts in earnest. Don’t forget too that you’ve got the opportunity to have your picture taken with the team or your favourite player: see the news item on 29 July for details.
The pre-season friendlies so far have done nothing to dispel the cautious optimism felt by Cards fans about the coming league campaign. Garry Hill has kept nearly all the best performers from last season’s side – probably only full-backs Aswad Thomas and Ricky Anane would have been retained too if they’d been available – but he has also strengthened it considerably, notably in midfield and up front. Even at full-back there is no reason to suppose that Adam Newton and Derek Duncan won’t prove more than adequate replacements. In midfield Jack King’s strength, height and willingness to get forward will prove a major asset, whilst Jay Davies’s mobility and ability to pick the ball up from defenders and get moves going will be very welcome. We’ve now got a genuine left-winger in the pacy Dale Binns – perhaps two in the possibly even quicker Nathan Koranteng, who Garry Hill apparently thinks may prove to be the surprise package of the season. Gez Sole will be keen to impress too either up front or just behind the strikers: his free-kicks and nerveless penalty-taking will undoubtedly give us another dimension. And then there’s the youthful promise of Josh Griffiths, who looks as though he could come on leaps and bounds this season, no doubt initially from the bench. Up front, Elvis will be assisted by Wayne Gray and the returning Moses Ademola, with the powerful Ola Sogbanmu pushing for a starting place too. Even in goal, the side is stronger, with Andy Little now facing stiff competition from Aaron Howe.
With only one more friendly to go after this game – away to Heybridge Swifts on Saturday – Garry will presumably want to give even more time on the pitch to the main candidates for his starting XI away to Sutton on 13 August.
QPR are expected to field a reserve side tomorrow evening. They’ve previously played friendlies against a couple of BSBS sides, losing 2-1 at Hampton and Richmond but beating Truro City 4-2 at Truro. Michael Doughty, on loan to the Cards towards the end of last season, was on the score sheet in the latter game.
Come on, you Cards!
P.S. Don’t forget to fill in your Cards Trust membership/renewal form and hand it in at the Club Shop if you haven’t already sent it in.