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Robbo on signings, pre-season, and Huseyin’s future

Head Coach interviewed ahead of friendlies this weekend

23 July 2021

Mark Robinson said he’s edging closer to new signings as he seeks to put the finishing touches to his squad before the big kick-off.

After making six signings so far, Robbo was asked if he’s making further progress in terms of strengthening the group.  

“I’m really pleased with the squad, and there’s still a couple more to come,” said our Head Coach. “As far as I know, one is very close, and with the other one we might have to wait. We had a little bit of a setback on an option that we wanted to pursue. It’s not dead in the water, but there are other options with that as well. I am confident we will get there, but the second one might take a little longer.”

Robbo added that talented right wing-back Huseyin Biler will be another player to gain first-team experience elsewhere as he feels a loan option will be best for his development. Huseyin’s dynamic display against Brentford gave Robbo a real dilemma, but he explained the reasons why the teenage talent will be loaned out.

“With Huseyin I’ve decided that we are going to get him out on loan,” said Robbo. “It would be very easy to put him in the squad, but I always promised myself that I wasn’t going to do that – letting lads sit on the bench and not get game time. I am going to stick with loaning him out and getting him playing matches because I think that’s best for him. I think that will get him quicker to where we want him to be as a player.”

Speaking ahead of the friendly matches at Hampton and Dartford, Robbo added that defender Dan Csoka will return after a hamstring injury for the match in Kent.

On preparations for the 2021/22 league season, our Head Coach said: "I'm really pleased with it so far. The lads are getting on well together and as well as the fitness over the next two weeks it’s about getting a little bit of cohesion, building those relationships on the pitch with the new players, so that they start understanding each other's movements. Next week we will be doing more work on that. On Tuesday that wasn’t really there, but that’s difficult when you are splitting squads. We’ve just got to accept that and there’s always got to be a bit of a trade-off. The key thing is that we want to be as fit and as sharp as possible.

Explaining the approach towards this pre-season, Robbo added: “The whole point of what we did was that we wanted to have a three week lead in before starting the games. Normally you would have a two-week lead in, but we wanted to have three weeks to get their base fitness as high as possible. We feel we’ve done that, and then we wanted to have the back to back games to make sure they were getting enough match fitness.

“Normally we would have taken just one squad for the Kingstonian game. A group of the first-team players would have got 60 minutes and the rest would have got 30 minutes, but the way we did it on Tuesday was that everyone got 60 minutes in the tank. On Friday and Saturday everyone will get 75 minutes in. By the end of this week everyone will have got 75 minutes under their belts, rather than sharing the minutes, which will put us in good stead.

“Although the teams we are sending out for these games are a bit weaker because we are splitting the squad and mixing youngsters in there, in terms of minutes it works better. It still gives us two weeks with Woking and Scunthorpe to come before the first league match. We will have a whole week of preparation leading up to the first game. The key thing is that the boys are saying they feel really good physically.”

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