05:00PM, Friday 23 July 2021
Photo by George Tewkesbury
The result may not have been important, but Maidenhead United's behind closed doors pre-season friendly with League 1 MK Dons on Saturday served several useful purposes according to assistant boss Ryan Peters.
United lost the match 3-1 after 120 minutes of football played in four, 30-minute quarters to enable as many players as possible to take part.
For the most part, the Magpies gave as good as they got, taking the lead through Sam Barratt before the Dons fought back for victory.
Peters felt the Magpies looked fit and sharp, despite this being their first pre-season outing, and said this bodes well with the start of the season still several weeks away.
“It was a good workout, but the result is not important,” he said. “We managed to see a few boys that we were potentially looking at and we got some minutes under our belt which was needed. Some of the boys were also coming back from injury, so it was good all-round for us.
“The boys have come back fit, which is what we needed. We want them to push on from last season, so we expected them to do a little bit in the off-season which they have.
“We probably played this game a little earlier than we normally would, but we’d rather do this than train. We’ve also got quite a few games coming up so the boys will get fitter as we go and we’re looking to make a good start to the season.”
Manager Alan Devonshire had a look at one or two potential new recruits while the club's new signings also got a feel for playing alongside their new teammates and under the guidance of a new management team. United kick off the new season at FC Halifax Town on Saturday, August 21, and Peters firmly believes the side can build on last season's 13th placed finish, despite seeing several players come and go in the close season. He hopes they can now look past 'fighting relegation', but once again the first target will be getting to 'the 52-point mark'.
“I’m happy,” he said. “The gaffer is still maybe looking and wanting to tweak a few things about at the moment.
“He’s not feeling pressured into making signings too early. We’re quite a long way from the start of the season. We’re happy with what he’s got so far but he’s always on the lookout for better.
“Based on last season we’d like to think we’re past fighting against relegation. But first and foremost, we must get to that 52 points number.
On Saturday’s home friendly with League 2 Leyton Orient (3pm kick-off), Peters added: “We cannot wait. I can’t wait for that buzz. We’re going to see how these boys are.
“We’re going to train hard, there isn’t going to be any light training going on.
“We’re just trying to build up to the start of the season and Leyton Orient are probably two or three weeks ahead of us which is good.”