Martin Allen believes that his plans for next season are ‘coming together nicely’ following Barnet’s 0-0 draw against Maidenhead United in their fourth pre-season at York Road on Saturday.
Despite having a number of chances in the second half to win the game – including a Mathew Stevens header that was cleared for the line with less than ten minutes to go – the Bees could not quite find the breakthrough against a resolute Maidenhead.
Speaking after the game, Martin reflected on a difficult test against the National League South side, who also had their own chances to win the match in both halves:
“It was a difficult game – very hot with a very sticky pitch. But we have got no injuries and we have got a lot more minutes under the players’ belts. As we all know, getting that match sharpness is absolutely crucial.
“It was a better performance in the second half than in the first half. We had a lot of chances, particularly in the second half, but we didn’t manage to tuck any of those away.
“The players have trained very hard for the last two days coming into this game and a few of them have had the full ninety minutes today. It was another good work-out for us against what I would say is going to be a very good team in this division.”
Barnet fielded a strong squad against the Magpies, although with a few notable faces missing Martin explained the reason behind their absences:
“Bira Dembele’s wife had a baby in France yesterday morning and Michael Gash was at his sister’s wedding today so they will both be back in on Monday.
“Stacky has had a slight tweak in his calf so he hasn’t been available and obviously we miss him as he is a big character on and off the field in our dressing room.”
The Bees’ next assignment is a challenging match-up against League One Peterborough United at The Hive on Tuesday night, and having now completed the first three weeks of pre-season training Martin is now expecting to see a rise in intensity as his team get ready for the off on August 8th:
“Today was always the last training-type game and I suppose things change now on Tuesday night. I should have everybody available and it is going to be more of a ninety minute game.
“We need them all to be injury-free and match sharp. We need to bed in new players and keep building on the team spirit and camaraderie which were crucial and important things that we had last season in abundance.
“There is room for improvement but I think every club could say that during pre-season. They are coming together nicely and we will keep evolving, there is no doubt.”
Barnet FC: Dan Lincoln; Gavin Hoyte (Mauro Vilhete 65), Michael Nelsen, Bondz N’Gala (Tamille Roache 89), Elliott Johnson (Sam Muggleton 65); Andy Yiadom (Luke Gambin 65), Tom Champion (Charlie Kennedy 87), Curtis Weston (c) (Sam Togwell 65), Ben Tomlinson; John Akinde (Shaun Batt 65), Kevin Lisbie (Mathew Stevens 46).