United’s third pre-season outing was the always enjoyable visit to Borough Park on Saturday afternoon and they were made to work hard for their win by the hosts in what became extremely hot conditions.
Assistant boss Gav Skelton spoke to us after the game to give us his reaction.
“It was a difficult test for us and I thought Workington performed really well,” he said. “The pitch is in excellent condition but obviously with the Cumbrian sun as it was, it meant that it was dry and it was hard to get any tempo into the game.
“In terms of another workout, that was pleasing, and it was also a pleasing result. We got the goals and a clean sheet, but when it comes to the performance, were we right at it and are we delighted – probably not.
“Hopefully there’s more to come from us but we got good minutes into the legs for a lot of the lads and that’s good for us after what has been another tough week.
“It’s three weeks today until we start the season so this is where the real game preparation starts. We’re all really excited about that.”
“In this one, they’ve got some really good players, I know that from first-hand experience,” he added. “The set-up was good, they went man for man at times and made it difficult for us.
“It is a good workout for both teams. We’ve got what we wanted out of it and hopefully Workington have as well.
“They’ll be disappointed they lost by three goals, I don’t think either keeper has had loads to do. Jim Atkinson’s had a couple of saves and we’ve hit the post, I don’t think our keeper’s had loads to do.
“It was a really tough test physically and it keeps stepping up, which is the plan for pre-season.”
And he insisted that whatever the result, there will always be a demand for more from the group both as individuals, and as a collective.
“We are happy overall, it was a good performance and the lads will be happy with their fitness levels,” he confirmed. “We were never in danger of losing the game, but Workington did make it difficult for us.
“The pitch is brilliant but with it being dry it made us hard to find the tempo we wanted. We’re pleased that the work from the week went onwards into the game and we look forward to next week and pushing on again.
“We’re always looking to be even better, whatever we do, and I think that’s the way it has to be. We want to maintain really high standards.”
Registering twice on the scoresheet was Ryan Edmondson, who proved to be a useful outlet through his 45 minutes on the pitch.
“He’ll be pleased, but it wasn’t just his goals,” he commented. “I thought his hold up play was really good at times.
“He mixed it up well between showing to feet and then stretching the game and getting in behind, which was what got him his second goal.
“Strikers get confidence off goals and he’ll be feeling good about himself. Hopefully he’ll kick on even more for us.
“He came off at half time with maybe a little bit of a dead leg, but we’re expecting him to train on Monday.
“In a game like this he’d done his business, he’d done his job, and he took the pats on the back for that.”
Also receiving praise through this run of three local games have been the second year scholars who have stepped into the first-team ranks with aplomb.
“What they bring is a real enthusiasm,” he said. “Kai Nugent hasn’t got a massive frame but his energy levels and the way he gets stuck in are an example for all pros.
“He’s desperate to get a contract at the end of the season and whatever happens he’s shown a good hunger and enthusiasm to give it every opportunity.
“Carr and Bollado are the same, they bring a real enthusiasm to the group and when they play they’re desperate to do well.”
“For every player, seniors included, it’s just about getting back into good habits,” he concluded. “It’s all been focusing on fitness, but then you start looking at the football side.
“It’s those good habits, the basics - second balls, clearing your lines, squeezing the game, things we can work on in the next couple of weeks.
“And we’ll keep topping up the fitness levels. After the game the lads who did 30 minutes ran hard, and it’s important they do that.
“In terms of a workout, really pleasing and hopefully we’ve come through with no injuries.”
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