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Bucks to field more settled side as season draws near

Forward Brad Grayson scored midweek in Buxton's pre-season friendly win over Brighouse Town
Forward Brad Grayson scored midweek in Buxton's pre-season friendly win over Brighouse Town

Buxton FC joint boss Paul Phillips doesn’t expect there to be any trialists in the team that takes to the field against Tamworth FC on Saturday.

The Bucks have had a close look at a number of players over the past weeks as the management team assemble a squad fit for the rigours of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

No less than eight trialists were named in the squad which beat Brighouse Town 3-0 on Tuesday night but Phillips said decisions have been made regarding each player’s future.

“There will be a more settled team against Tamworth on Saturday,” he said.

“Decisions have been made on the trialists. There won’t be any trialists in the game on Saturday. We’ve got four games to go now until the kick off. We might throw another one in there at some point, if we can get it sorted.

“But with the lads that we’ve had in, we’ve made a decision on and told them where we are going forward. There will be some lads who we’ve had with us who we won’t be taking forward.”

The midweek win over Brighouse, who play a step below in the Evo-Stik’s East Division, saw the Bucks go ahead early on through an own goal before two goals in the last 10 minutes sealed the result.

Phillips said: “It wasn’t the greatest of games. The pitch was dry and sticky, it wasn’t the greatest of surfaces, and that’s no disrespect to them. Everyone’s having trouble with the hot weather of getting the pitches where they want them to be.

“It was a case of making sure we got minutes in the tank and getting some of the lads up to speed. Some of the lads have come back from injury or come back from holiday - it was a realistic test against a hard working team.

“It wasn’t a great football game but we did a job and the extra minutes in the legs was the most important thing.”

And added: “We’ve always prided ourselves to get the lads as fit as possible. Sometimes you can’t win the games within the first 10 or 15 minutes. A goal in the 80th or the 90th minute is just as good as one in the first.

“It was good to see the two late goals, Brad Grayson chipping in with one as well, but it was equally pleasing to see a clean sheet. We’ve chopped and changed a bit at the back to get everyone minutes and they did well.

“If you look back on last year’s clean sheets, it wasn’t acceptable, I think we only had seven or eight in all throughout the season, goals weren’t an issue, so it’s good to have that clean sheet on board.”

An unnamed trialist scored one of the late goals and the other came from substitute Grayson, who had been linked with a move away from Silverlands earlier this summer.

“We played him as a No.10 last night (against Brighouse) and he’s got the ability to play there,” said Phillips. “There’s no doubting his ability, but he’s got to look hungrier to score goals and get on the end of things.

“If he does what he did last night - I thought he was excellent - then he’ll have a future at the club. If he doesn’t then I think we’ll have to readdress it. He will get a fair crack of the whip like everyone else.”

Meanwhile, last Saturday’s scheduled pre-season friendly at New Mills was called off in the days before due to the hot weather causing the pitch to deteriorate.