Defender Tom Parkes started his second pre-season with the club last week looing to make a mark in front of the new manager and his staff with the places up for grabs when the first game of the season comes our way in August.
Parkes, 26, made 47 appearances for the Blues last term and admitted that it’s nice to be back at work following the eight-week summer break.
“It’s just good to be back with all the boys again,” he said. “It’s been a full week of training and we’re all enjoying it again.
“The gaffer has said that he wants us to be using the ball a lot through pre-season because he wants us to get used to playing with it again. Along with the running it’s getting us back up to the match fitness level we all need.”
“When you have a new manager you always want to impress him,” he commented. “It’s all about taking the chance to be involved in the first game of the season, so it’s down to us to work as hard as we can to try to make that happen.
“Everyone looks sharp and, like I say, when it’s new management staff you want to prove the point that you deserve a place. Being honest, the running isn’t something I look forward to personally, but it’s part of the job and it’s all about helping you to get fit.
“You definitely feel the benefit of it when the season comes around and that’s why we all put the effort in now. At the moment the focus is on being involved against Exeter. There’s been a lot of goals in the games against them over the last few years so the fitter and sharper we are, the better prepared we’ll be to take them on.”
Looking ahead to what the team wants to achieve in this campaign, he said: “The good thing this season is that we’re openly talking about pushing for promotion already.
“It’s great to have a mindset like that. Every player at this club wants to get out of this league and this is where it all starts for us. We can then build on all of the hard work we do.”
“We didn’t get to where we wanted to be last season, but I enjoyed it overall,” he told us. “It was good for us defensively because we had a good unit. Hopefully we can carry that on this season.
“I played a few positions last season, and it was a bit different for me at left back, I don’t mind admitting that, but I really will play wherever I’m asked.
“There’s really good competition for places all the way across the back line this year, with Danny Grainger and Macaulay Gillesphey both excellent with their left foot.
“It’s a good challenge for me to try to claim a place because I know others want it just as much as I do.”
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