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Hungerford start pre-season off with a win

The Crusaders have been in training for several weeks and played their first friendly

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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Hungerford start pre-season off with a win

HUNGERFORD Town manager Ian Herring was pleased to begin the pre-season campaign with a win away to Fairford Town on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders scored late on through James Rusby to come away from Cinder Lane with a 1-0 win.

Herring named a 16-man squad for Saturday’s friendly against the Hellenic League Premier Division side.

Returning players such as Callum Willmoth, Dan Bailey, Conor Lynch, Mike Jones and Marcus Johnson-Schuster were also in action.

And after the game, Herring said: “It was very pleasing and it was a great work out.

“I think there were five or six lads who played the full 90 minutes and I managed to have a look at a lot of the players.

“Some people say that results don’t matter in pre-season, but we have kept a clean sheet and won the game, although we could have scored more.”

Town have had a number of players on trial ahead of the new season and have been back in training for two weeks.

Herring said: “We have done most things with the ball and we have tried to gradually increase this to make it seem like we are in a game situation.

“The difficult thing is that we only have these lads for two sessions a week, plus a game on a Saturday, so there isn’t a lot of time and it’s hard to fit everything in.

“We have focussed on fitness work and also tried to get the players to know each other because there are a lot of players that are trying to earn a contract.”

On Saturday, Hungerford play their third pre-season game of the summer when they take on the Kuwait national team at St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent.

Kuwait, who are ranked 156th in the world, are in England playing a number of games and will also face Marlow United and Maidenhead United in friendlies.

“It’s a very good opportunity to play at St George’s Park against a national side,” Herring said.

“It’ll be a great fitness exercise for us – I have never been there and I am sure none of the players have either.

“The experience will be good  not only for the players, but for the staff too and the supporters that are able to go there.”

The Crusaders begin their National League South campaign with an away trip to Hemel Hempstead Town on August 3.

Herring was a little disappointed with the fact his side are away from home on the opening day for the fourth consecutive year.

He said: “For a club like ourselves, we’re trying to raise sponsorship and get more people through the gates.

“It’s disappointing that we’re away on the first game of the season, the last game of the season and on Non-League Day.”

Hungerford will play eight games in the opening month of the season and Herring is determined to make his players ready for the challenge.

He said: “We have a local derby for our first home game against Slough before we face Maidstone United.

“August is always  top-loaded at the start of the season, so we have to get these lads ready to be able to play Saturday and Tuesday for a few weeks.”

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