Goalkeeper Luke Daniels believes the physicality of our final friendly game will set the squad up well for Saturday’s opening day fixture against Bristol Rovers.Winning 1-0 at Hartlepool, Daniels said it was good also to have a defensive shutout, against a side which he feels will perform well in League Two this season.
However, he was quick to highlight the focus should remain entirely on themselves, and stated the clash with the Pools will provide food for thought ahead of the big kick-off at the weekend.
Speaking to The Iron PlayerHD, Daniels said: “Obviously it’s pleasing to finish off with a win, and also a clean sheet too, which is great.
“It’s given us a lot to work on. We know where we struggled today and it wasn’t as comfortable as it perhaps should have been.
“It’s given us a good run out, and it was a definite physical test - so it’s not a bad one to go into the season with.
“They’re a decent side, and I think they’ll do well this year, but it’s about what we do.”
The 28-year-old explained too that a really intense and demanding pre-season will only go on to help the squad as the campaign progresses, while adding that the preparation rather than the results are the most important thing in the lead up to a new season.
“If you look at last year, pre-season was almost too easy for us, we flew through it and then we got to the season and struggled for a few months,” he explained.
“We’ve had a really tough pre-season, and hopefully that’ll stand us in good stead for when we’re ready to go next Saturday.
“Obviously it’s nice winning games, but it’s more about making sure we’ve got things in place and the building blocks there, ready to go.
“I feel like we’re in a really good place, and obviously the performance today has given us things to look at. So it’s important we go back in on Monday and put that into place, because we’ve got a massive game coming up next week.”
Evaluating next Saturday’s opponents, the Iron man stated because of the momentum which the Pirates will have generated from gaining promotion, the encounter is sure to be a difficult one, but one he knows he and his teammates are more than able of coming away with three points from.
“They (Bristol Rovers) had a little bit of a dip and went down into the Conference, and dropped out the league. So it’s good for them that they’ve managed to get back up and they’re a big club - so it’s going to be a good test for us,” he stated.
“It’s the same as Burton, (on the opening day of last season) they were on a roll. I believe it’s going to be a physical test, and it’s going to be another mental test as well.
“However, it’s about what we do. We’re more than capable enough to do well in this league and it’s up to us to show that.”
See much more from Luke Daniels, Graham Alexander and Stephen Dawson on the Iron PlayerHD.
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