Hard Work Ahead For Roms

By Tom Snee

Romulus update

Romulus head coach Dave Barnett has told his young charges to return prepared for hard work, as the Roms look to mount a serious challenge for the play-offs in the 2011-12 season.

Pre-season training kicks off this weekend, but former Birmingham City legend Barnett insists that the preparation has been ongoing throughout the summer, despite a break since the end of April.

"In the first session we will assess the players fitness levels, which should be high as they are generally young, fit lads.

"The players must do the foundation work during the closed season, they have to look after themselves, which they all know.

"There is plenty of hard work ahead, but we will look to mix the fitness work with getting them on the ball straight away.

"It is important that we work on skill and sharpness, as much as anything else, so we can hit the ground running."

The need to begin well won't be lost on Barnett; Romulus were left to play catch up in their debut Evostik Northern Premier League season last year.

However, the Roms' UEFA A licence coach is confident that a settled squad this time around will banish the memory of that slow start.

"Unlike last season we have the core of our squad in place- last season there were a lot of changes.

"Once we had a settled side, the consistency soon came through, something that we'll have that straight away this time.

"Everyone knowing each other will give us a head start."

One change that Romulus will have to contend with is the surface at Coles Lane, with an artificial 3G pitch now installed at the Central Ground.

"While it is different, we have time to get used to it.

"We have a few friendlies planned on 3G surfaces, and it will suit good footballers like Nathan Walker, Ashley Jackson and Marvin Johnson.

"These lads will be able to express themselves and play into feet- play the right type of football.

"As always, we will have that competitive streak, but it is important with the type of players we have that we play in the right way."

With the emphasis on passing football, Barnett also said he was looking forward to working with the quartet of new signings bought in by boss Richard Evans over the summer.

Evans has snapped up goalkeeper Chris Jay, defender Luke Edwards, midfielder Jon Powis and striker Ross Dempster during the closed season.

"Richard and I always liaise about players- they have to fit with the type of personality we have at the club, and they must be willing to listen and learn.

"We look for lads with a good pedigree who can gather information and improve, pick up on things like positioning and know how.

"We don't have a huge budget, and we're happy to go with young, hungry players who are looking to push on."

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