Horndean boss Michael Birmingham satisfied with ‘tough’ friendlies
Manager Michael Birmingham has been satisfied with Horndean's pre-season so far.
The Deans have been on the end of friendly home defeats to both National League South Hawks (1-6) and Southern League Premier South Hartley Wintney (1-2).
But Birmingham stressed results are not what he's bothered about in pre-season - it's making sure his squad is up to scratch come the start of the 2021-22 season early next month.
Birmingham felt the Deans' second half effort against Hartley was much improved and he's pleased to see gradual progress.
He said: 'We got a lot out of the game (against Hartley), especially second half where we played extremely well.
‘Our work rate and intensity was a lot higher than what it was first half.
‘Obviously it’s just a fitness exercise at this moment in time, it’s just about getting some minutes under your belt, and hopefully get the rustyness out.
‘We’re nowhere near at the moment, but you’ve also got to take into account that they (the players) have had six months with no football.
‘There have been some good things, there have been some things which really do open your eyes.
‘I’ve done it before at Bognor where we’ve lost every pre-season game and got promoted that year.
‘Nothing can be judged on in pre-season, especially the games; it’s just about making sure you make it through injury-free ready for the first game of the season.'
Connor Duffin was Horndean's scorer in the defeat to Hartley, following on from netting against Hawks.
Birmingham has also been able to provide summer signings Zak Willett, Michael Baker, Cameron Scott and Luke Dempsey game time in the opening two friendlies.
But, most importantly, he believes attracting some 'bigger sides' to Five Heads Park will bring some much-needed club revenue.
Birmingham said: ‘They’ve mixed in well (new signings), come in well, it’s still going to take a bit of time but we’ve still got a few weeks until the season starts anyway.
‘That’s why we’ve got these friendlies against the big sides, so we can get some revenue in the club through the gates and the social bar.
‘They have been tough friendlies but you often find out more about your side and character (in these games).'
Horndean are away to Selsey tonight and Hampshire Premier Leaguers Clanfield on Thursday. The Deans then welcome higher division Chichester City to Five Heads Park on Saturday and host step 3 Gosport Borough next Tuesday.