01:00PM, Friday 23 July 2021
Maidenhead United kicked off their National League pre-season preparations with a behind-closed-doors friendly against MK Dons on Saturday morning.
Having been primarily training with one another at Bisham Abbey, the Magpies were able to spread their wings in their first ‘competitive’ game comprised of 120 minutes, four 30-minute halves.
Under the beating sun and blue sky at Stadium MK, Alan Devonshire’s men were defeated 3-1 with Sam Barratt scoring the solitary goal for the Magpies.
The match, however, was more about ‘getting the minutes’ in for United’s players lacking in match fitness than the result and monitoring new signings such as Kane Ferdinand and Will De Havilland.
“We had only been back [in training] for a fortnight, so it was always going to be a tough ask to get a result, especially against a team that are notorious for passing the ball well,” said Barratt.
“But, the game was more about getting our fitness up, keeping shape, and being hard to break down.
“It was good to get off the mark too. It wasn’t the best penalty I’ve ever hit, but I was there for the tap-in.
“I’ve got a target this season to kick on from the 15 I scored last year.
“Hopefully I can build the confidence with a few goals in pre-season and take it into the new campaign.”
Barratt said it was good to get an understanding of how new players Ferdinand and De Havilland play, with the Magpies’ winger playing the second two halves of the match with the latter.
“I played the second two halves so I didn’t get a chance to play with Kane, I played half an hour with Will who played well up top aswell.
“But, watching on, they both look like good signings. It was good to see the ‘keepers (Rhys Lovett and James Holden) in training aswell.
“James was with us the last few games of last season so we know what he’s about.
“The gaffer (Alan Devonshire) has made some strong signings to add more squad depth – that competition for places is going to be vital.”
On Maidenhead United’s next fixture, against Leyton Orient this Saturday, Barratt added: “This will probably be my favourite pre-season game.
“They are going to be a test but I think it will be a good challenge, and I’m relatively confident.
“We’re two weeks into pre-season and getting fitter and sharper now.”