Cheltenham Town: Russell Milton's column
I'LL start with matters on the field and there is one game to report on from the last week.
The scheduled game against Southampton on Wednesday was called off because they had picked up too many injuries from their pre-season tour to Sweden.
Although this would have been a good test, I can't say I was too disappointed with it being pretty close to the first game of the season against Torquay United this morning.
The Coventry game saw us go down 2-0, conceding two soft second-half goals, the second from a quickly taken free-kick while still lining the wall up, so there is definitely something to learn from there for the boys.
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This was a game that we could easily have got something from.
I think we had the game's outstanding player in winger Jamal Lawrence, who has pace in abundance, particularly when he puts the afterburners on there is no catching him.
Time and again he had the beating of his full-back and looked very dangerous.
The disappointing thing was we didn't capitalise on the threat from his runs and produce enough end product.
That was our last pre-season fixture and all in all I have been very pleased with all the boys' application and performances during this past six weeks.
The first years have bedded in quickly and complemented the experience of the second years who have hit the ground running and looked very good.
This does give good vibes going in to the start of the season today, so let's hope we can start positively today and these aren't empty words.
One important thing to remember will be that some players will be sent out on loan at times to add senior football to their CVs, something I believe is invaluable.
Bobbie Dale did well for John Brough at Bishop's Cleeve on Tuesday night and I'm pretty certain that most of the boys, especially second years, will have that experience during the season.
The tricky part comes in deciding when, where and who goes out to local clubs and it's a case of balancing everything up without weakening the squad too much.
This season we have taken on six first year scholars, with the possibility of another joining before the boys start college in September.
They are Jamal, defenders Danny Reynolds, Callum Craddock and Liam Sheppard, midfielder Reece Daly and forward Jamie Goodwin.
All the lads have real quality and for me it will be interesting to see them progress over the season.
Callum and Liam give us a real defensive toughness and left full-back Danny is an exciting prospect who overlaps for fun with quality.
Midfielder Reece, who we picked up from Aston Villa, is a very neat and tidy player with vision.
Jamal, nephew of former Gloucestershire and England pace bowler David, will get people off their seats with his pace and trickery.
Jamie, cousin of former Robins player Simon, has real speed and an eye for goal.
Jamie is an interesting case as he came into the system late via the shadow development squad last season and deservedly gained a scholarship as a result.
Our second open trial weekend proved very successful again, following on from the one in May, with around 70 lads between 16 and 23 years old coming along for two days of training and matches.
We will be inviting seven or eight back for a period to train and we'll take it from there.
As I said, there is one space with me and there is also availability in our up-and-coming shadow scholarship squad, where the boys will train and be educated at the club to a Btec Level Three standard and play in the Football League or Premier League competition against the likes of Birmingham and Coventry.
Anyone interested in pursuing this opportunity, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.