Barking boss excited to get league campaign underway

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 August 2019

Barking manager Justin Gardner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Barking manager Justin Gardner (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Barking kick start life in the BetVictor Isthmian League South Central this weekend with the first of five away fixtures due to works still taking place at Mayesbrook Park.

The Blues will travel to Marlow on the opening day of the season on Saturday before also making the trip to Ware on Tuesday evening.

And boss Justin Gardner is looking forward to getting started after a long pre-season where they played nine fixtures against a mixture of opposition.

"It has been tough because our whole pre-season has been away as well, lots of travelling, but we have to look at it positively," Gardner said.

"When we do eventually get back to our home pitch, we'll have a lot of home games in a row, so it's about accumulating as many points as we can while we're away.

"I find pre-season boring and unrealistic really, and I've never had a good or bad pre-season and let it worry me. If you win all your games human nature tends to say you'll do very well, but it doesn't pan out that way.

"I always find some players perform better in pre-season but some perform better when the real games start."

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The Blues boss did however reveal he is happy with his new-look squad and is confident he knows who will start at the weekend.

"If everyone is fit and trains well this week then I would say I know my starting eleven already," he added.

"We've got a few injuries at the moment, that is my only concern. Apart from that I'm happy with everything else."

However, Gardner says Marlow will be an unknown to his side on opening day, adding: "I know a little bit, but they are an unknown mainly.

"I've not really identified any one player, it's more a collective really, they're very much a team and I don't think they have one player that is better than the others.

"We planned to have them watched on Saturday but the match was called off, so that was a bit of a shame."

The former Aveley manager also expects a tough test against Ware who just missed out on the play-offs last term.

"They finished sixth last year and just missed the play-offs and they've actually signed a striker (Olu Akinsanya) who was with us during pre-season.

"He went away for a week and that didn't sit well with me, but we know about him and he's a threat."

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