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Hurst assesses victory at Alfreton, with updates on Wootton and Lewis

23 July 2019

Manager Paul Hurst felt his side got better as the game went on in the 4-1 away pre-season victory at Alfreton Town.

Matthew Lund scored a hat-trick, while Alex Gilliead was also on target in the success at the Impact Arena, with United coming from behind after conceding an early goal.

Hurst told iFollow Iron: “It was a good work-out and Alfreton made it tough for us initially. We didn’t quite understand what we needed to do to make it more difficult for them in that first period, but I think the longer the game went on, they took things on board – certainly after half-time when I explained a few things.

“They changed their shape and the substitutions made it bitty, but we certainly grew stronger. One of the themes we’ve said we want to see from the team is more forward runs. We got the ball in better positions out wide, higher up the pitch, and scored some good goals. Lundy scored a hat-trick, which is a positive, and we ran out worthy winners in the end, although we made it a little more difficult for ourselves in that first period. That’s not taking anything away from Alfreton though.”

With just one first team friendly match remaining, Hurst was pleased to see eight of his starting eleven get through the full 90 minutes.

He said: “I think there were a few tired legs. Ultimately we’re not far away from the start of the season now and we can’t have any excuses of feeling tired on the first day of the season. When we get to that point it’s a case of digging in while out on the pitch, and then recovering afterwards. We’re pushing the players training-wise and the load’s been higher than it will be during the season, but we think it’s important to get that base (of fitness).

“We’ll assess and chat things through as staff to see what we do against Lincoln (in the final first team friendly on Saturday).

A number of first team squad players also received game time in the 4-0 friendly victory at Frickley Athletic on the same night, with Kevin van Veen (hat-trick) and George Hornshaw on target.

Hurst added: “It’s good for Kevin getting goals, and a good win. It was a mix of first team lads and Under-23s. Frickley is known as a tough place to play. I’ll get the lowdown from Russ (Wilcox, Under-23s manager), but overall we’re pleased to win two games. It’s just a shame we couldn’t keep a clean sheet (at Alfreton) and make it two on the night.”

Meanwhile, Hurst provided an update on Kyle Wootton, who’s missed the last two games with a thigh strain, and also Clayton Lewis, who hasn’t figured so far in the pre-season matches.

He said: “We’re hopeful Kyle might be back for the start of next week. Clayton got injured in La Manga and it’s quite a bad thigh injury, so he’s probably another three weeks away from joining in training. He’s started doing a bit of running, but he’s still some way from getting fit.”

See much more from Paul Hurst and Alex Gilliead on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.

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