Pre-season boost for BrianRoyals boss Brian McDermott was given a boost by our second half display against Brighton this week, and is looking forward to taking that positivity into our final friendly with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
McDermott's team put in a very good showing after the interval at the AmEx on Tuesday night, and after five earlier friendlies in which the team was understandably chopped and changed to give everybody minutes under their belt, there was a more settled feel to his squad.
He is set to continue that same pattern against the Eagles this weekend, and looking back on pre-season so far he told the local press, "Training has been excellent and of all the games we've had, Brighton the other night was when I began to feel happier. We are getting to where we need to be, we've got Palace this weekend and then it's Stoke.
"Friendlies are definitely a lot different to League games. You're giving players the minutes that they need. Now we are working with the shape of the team, we did that against Brighton and will do so again against Palace, looking ahead to Stoke and how we're going to play.
"With the fact we've brought players in, and importantly not let anyone go, it's a strong position to be in. The thing about bringing players in, it's a case of gelling everyone together and for them having seen the Brighton game they know how we play, we've been successful playing that way, especially last year. They will buy into that and be fine with it.
"We try and play, pass the ball at the right time, get shots in and get crosses off. The other night the opposition had a lot of passes in their own half and we're OK with that."
Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts are set to miss out with injuries; Jem Karacan will play for the Reading FC XI at Eastleigh but Chris Gunter could be involved against the Eagles. Brian said, "You get injuries at any time, Jimmy has picked up a hamstring, he's never had a hamstring injury before. It was disappointing but it's why you have a squad.
"Bringing in Nicky Shorey for example, it's him and Ian Harte vying for the left back spot which is real competition and two in each position is what I wanted."