Taunton conclude their pre-season schedule of friendlies with two games in two days at Wordsworth Drive. They entertain an Exeter City XI on Thursday evening, kick-off 7.30pm, and then host Peninsula League Eastern Division side Stoke Gabriel, managed by former Town favourite Gary Fisher, on Saturday, ko 3pm. The matches give manager Leigh Robinson a last chance to assess his playing squad in action before the Evo-Stik League season begins a week on Saturday.
The Peacocks have won all six of their friendlies to date but the Town boss believes there is further room for improvement. “I am obviously pleased with how the friendlies have gone so far. To win six games on the bounce and concede only one goal is very pleasing but I still think there is a load more to come from us. As we have a lot of new players, we haven’t really gelled going forward yet but this is something that only time on the pitch can solve and when this does happen, we will be even stronger. I am sure that anyone who watched the Dinas Powys game could see that we have brought in some fantastic players, have a strong squad and look solid but at times we didn't quite click going forward. However I would rather this was the case than the other way around as we have a very tough start to the season with Winchester away who will be on the crest of a wave having won promotion, Poole at home, Paulton away in the FA Cup and then Tiverton away, so it is important that we are solid first and foremost.
Taunton will select from a full-strength squad for the two games, with Jamie Short having returned from holiday and Owen Irish committing himself to the club, a fact which pleases Robinson.” We are delighted that Owen Irish has re-signed for the club as he is a leader, a fantastic defender and more importantly increases the 'local' number of players in the team. To me it is crucial that we retain a high number of local players in the squad as we want individuals involved on the playing side who either have a great affinity with the club or the desire to play for Taunton because they are local, or have real ambition to step up and perform at this level, much like the lads we signed from Willand, along with Craig Herrod and TJ Lang. Competition for places will be extremely high which is healthy but also the players understand that they need to be patient as a strong squad is so important due to the physical nature of the league and the need to keep people fresh.”