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💬 Bowen on new blood, familiar faces and fit-again first teamers as training intensifies...

Royals boss talks of a buzz around Bearwood as pre-season preparations are in full swing again...

17 August 2020

Thunder and lightning, followed by glorious sunshine...beginning pre-season preparations in mid-August is odd enough without some erratic weather over the beautiful Bearwood pitches.

But Royals boss Mark Bowen was beaming to be back out there amongst his group of first team players - a group that looks a little different to the one he last barked instructions to at the end of last season.

"We are glad to be back," he began. "Football people will tell you that once the season finishes, after a couple of weeks you get bored and you want to get back to your work.

"So it’s great to get back into the swing of things. The training ground is really coming on now – I’m told it might only be a few weeks until we’re all in the main buildings here at Bearwood. So it’s all progressing in that respect.

"But did I get the odd day off? Not really. As I said at the back end of last season, we lost 10-12 players from the squad in July – so there has to be a lot of work done behind the scenes," he said.

"Looking at videos, watching games, speaking to people, getting lists of players who you think may be able to come in and make a difference for you…there is loads going on behind the scenes.

"It seems to be non-stop, but we’re trying to put things in place."


Lucas Joao and Andy Yiadom were out on the grass with their teammates playing a full part in the pre-season session this morning following an injury lay-off that curtailed their 2019-20 campaigns.

"We really missed them at the back of the last season – they both had similar recurring hamstring injuries, but they’re back in training now which is a real bonus for us.

"Lucas we could have rushed him through for the last two or three games of last season, but it wasn’t worth the risk with this season so close on the horizon.

"Yids is looking sharper with every session, but at the same time we’re mindful of the fact that in pre-season we aim put the players through their paces, so we have to dip him in and out just to be sure there is no recurrence of any injury."

And there are a few familiar faces who have also returned to first team training in the last few days...


"The likes of Luke Southwood, Tom Holmes, Marc McNulty and Jordon Holsgrove have all come back in after loan spells," Bowen continued.

"They’re enthusiastic and hungry to impress. The young lads, Tom and Jordan, they’ve grown physically and matured mentally. So it’s nice to see them in the group.

"These players have to try to hit the ground running even more than the rest of the squad, because they have to try to impress us and prove to us they can be part of our plans and force their way into things.

"And we’re lucky to have Ovie Ejaria here training with us - and thanks to Liveprool for allowing us to do that.

"But anything we can or can't do on him will depend on the finances at the club and what we are able to do to take that situation forward.

"I’ll be trying to get more information on what we are going to be able to do, but it is all wrapped up into what we are able to do in terms of our finances at the club."

Meanwhile Josh Laurent adds fresh blood to the squad too. "I’ve kept my eye on him for a while, since he was a youngster at QPR," Bowen said.

"His traits? He is a big physical lad, he covers ground well, he can play in any number of positions, and he’s a very good professional.

"He’s a little bit of a sponge as well - he wants to soak up information, take it all on board. And I’m sure he will be a very good addition to the team for the coming season."

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