The manager writes in the Cardiff programme
We are delighted to be back today for our second, and final, home friendly of the summer. I’d like to say thank you to Malky Mackay for bringing his excellent Cardiff City side here, just over a year since we played them in a very competitive League Cup game. It will be a tough test for us but I am sure it will be a good competitive game and both sides will get a lot out of it. These days it is very hard to get friendlies against Premier League and Championship sides, who are often flying about all over the place, so a lot of work has gone in to making this game happen and it says a lot about our reputation as a club that we can attract full first team squads from such clubs as Cardiff and West Ham.
It has been a good pre-season so far and we are in a good place right now. Our games against West Ham and Didcot were great workouts and we then flew out to the States for an eight-day trip which was fantastic preparation. I would like to thank Paul Willis and everyone at Seacoast for their brilliant hospitality and organisation. They were the perfect hosts and that allowed our new players to integrate with the existing squad.
We had three good games out there and numerous tough training sessions. There was plenty to do for the players; I have been on tours before where there has been a lot of spare time, but this was different and we kept busy all the time. Even visiting the magnificent Fenway Park Stadium, training on the beach or the players playing golf served a purpose.
Now we look forward to the final part of pre-season. The payers look fit and ready and now we will work on other aspects that a successful side needs. There are certain basic functions in defence and offence that need to be set in place at this time of year and I am delighted to be where we are right now.
The new players have settled in well and I am sure you will offer a warm welcome to Lee Cox today. He is sure to be a popular signing on and off the pitch and has shown us that he is a character. He is delighted to be here and has impressed us with his performances so far.
We should have Adam Chapman and Sean McGinty back today although we will still be missing a few important players. Those injured players are working hard to regain fitness under Andy Lord and Alasdair Lane, and their attitude has been first class throughout pre-season. There is a strong sense of togetherness among the lads which will be an enormous help for the season ahead.
I thought we played well against West Ham last time we were here and hopefully can put in a similar performance today.