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MANAGER: They're all good games

Paul Simpson on the friendlies and on the younger members of the group

6 July 2023

Club News

MANAGER: They're all good games

Paul Simpson on the friendlies and on the younger members of the group

6 July 2023

Friday night brings the opening fixture of United’s pre-season campaign when they make the short hop across the border to face newly-promoted Annan Athletic, managed by former-Blue Peter Murphy.

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“It's a really good game for us,” manager Paul Simpson said. “It's a thank you to Annan and to Peter Murphy for helping us with Owen Moxon to start with, and hopefully they’ll make some money out of that.

“But it will be a really good game for us as well. I would imagine it's a good one for the fans to get to as well because it’s not too far up the road.

“They'll be flying after their promotion, our fans are on Cloud 9 with what we’ve done, we've just got to go and use it as an extension of training and hope to get everything out of it. 

“That one, and Gretna, for them it’s a thank you for us having use of their pitch when we have to go up there due to the weather.

“They’re good games, and an extension of our training. I’d like the performance to be good, and I want the result to be good, but it's not the end of the world. It's about going and working for those 45 minutes and getting the right physical stuff out of it.”

“The lads will train on Friday morning ahead of the first game,” he explained. “That gets something into their legs, then they’ll have a few hours at home before they come back for the game.

“We’ll just keep building them up. They’ve got to be able to play games and make decisions when they’re tired, and that’s what we expect on Friday night. Primarily it’s about fitness.”

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There then follows a procession of friendly games as we got through the remainder of the month.

“I'm pleased with the game we have lined up, to be honest with you,” he said. “I don't believe in getting a Premier League club to come here, smash you all over the place and you can't get the ball off them.

“That isn’t real to what we’re going to face. I think you have to get games specific to what you need. I don't believe you make any money out of pre-season games, unless one of the top Premier League clubs will come and sell out the ground, but that doesn't really happen.

“I just think the games are good for us. I like to do a couple of local ones. We couldn't do Penrith this year because they’re getting a new pitch. I wanted to thank Annan, and I also wanted to give something back to Gretna.

“We've had to miss out on places like Kendal, where we've been before, but I think we've got some good games culminating in a Dundee United game, which I think will be a really tough test for us.  

“We don’t have an EFL teams but I don't think it really matters if I'm going to be honest with you. We're looking at our training as being the main part of pre-season, and the games can give us a little bit different.


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“We've got the Newcastle one, that will be a test, and when we go to Scotland we're probably going to play a game against another Scottish team up there, and they’re real physical test because they're a few weeks ahead of us in terms of fitness.

“There’s no guarantee what pre-season is going to do for us, but we're hoping that we've got it right.”

And the schedule gives the younger players within the squad – the likes of Gabe Breeze, Max Kilsby and Kai Nugent – the chance to show what they’re all about.

“That’s exactly what they’ve got to do,” he commented. “We’re short on numbers, that’s really clear to everybody.

“We're hoping it will improve over the next week or 10 days, but at the moment it's up to them to show us they can step into it.

“Both Max and Kai, they had good loans last season, so we want to see how they've developed now. It may be that come the end of pre-season, if we've got enough bodies in the building, enough strength there, we might look to get them out on loan again.

“But at the moment they're fully part of the training group, they're fully part of the match day squad through the pre-season, and we'll see how they go.”

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