“We’re looking forward to the start of the season – hopefully the nice weather will be there as well!” said Royals boss Jaap Stam on a wet and windy day at Hogwood, which marked his final press-call ahead of the campaign’s start at QPR.
“After having a pre-season and six or seven weeks away, you want to start playing for the points. I’m looking forward to it, and I know the players are too, so hopefully we can start well.
“The players are eager to start in the league. They’ve been playing friendly games for some time – you try to motivate the players for those games, and they try to motivate themselves as well… but I’ve been there.
“You don’t want to get injured and sometimes you don’t want to risk certain tackles, and you can’t get the most out of it. You’re still working on shape and how you want to be playing, or certain details. But at the end of the day it’s about doing well from when the season starts.
“Last season was terrific – everyone enjoyed it. But now we need to start from scratch all over again and get the confidence that we had last season. We need to believe in ourselves again and play in a certain way that can make a difference and difficult for the opposition. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
There isn’t quite a clean bill of health – a few players are carrying injuries which will keep them out of the opening weekend, while others like Yann Kermorgant will have a longer spell on the sidelines.
The gaffer also hopes that deals can be struck for new arrivals in the coming weeks – but knows that these things sometimes take time.
“We’re looking alright – the players that we have who are fit are looking good and fresh, and that’s a good thing,” Jaap continued. “Of the players who are injured, Yann is out for a bit longer than the other players who are injured, some of which will be back soon.
“Of course we hope there are some deals to be made so that we can bring in some other players to strengthen the squad. We still have a month to do that in August to bring in new players.
“Everybody in the club wants that to happen as quick as they can, but sometimes you need to have a little bit of patience.”
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