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07 Aug 2023 : Boss reflects on the ups and downs of final friendly

Runcorn Linnets boss Billy Paynter gave media manager Sam Phillips a further update after Saturday's final warm-up game against Ashton United. It saw us narrowly beaten by the NPL Premier Division side, who are managed by ex-Linnets skipper Steve Cunningham.

SP: Billy, thanks for joining us. A 2-1 defeat by opponents one division our senior to close pre-season. What are your thoughts?

BP: Firstly, I'd like to thank Ashton for coming to the APEC Taxis Stadium and for giving us a competitive game. With a few players missing from the start, it was good to see that we have the squad strength to fill those gaps. I was really happy with our display in the first half.

We created numerous opportunities but were hesitant to shoot at the right time - instead taking that extra touch. However, it was good to see the patterns of play we have worked on in training being put into a match scenario.

SP: Again, rotation after half-time seemed to affect us and unfortunately, some of the changes we made were enforced?

BP: As in the other pre- season games, utilising subs can disrupt the shape at times. But it's important that we looked at trialists over the course of the pre-season and by doing so, we've had joy in being able to bring in a few more new signings to add to what we already had. The down side to the day was the three injuries, obviously.

SP: What is the latest with those injuries?

BP: Will (Saxon) is fine. We'll monitor the situation with Sam (Barrett) over the next few days. The knee injury picked up by Jamie (Rainford) is the most serious. I'm gutted for him and wish him a speedy recovery.

SP: Yes, it's never nice to see anyone being stretchered off, but particularly when the player concerned has only just returned at the end of last season from a lengthy injury lay-off. I'm sure every one involved with the club will echo your good wishes with regards to Jamie and his recuperation. Thanks again for the update.

BP: No problem, Sam. Now that pre-season is over, we get down to business and focus on the league visit of Chasetown this Saturday.

(Match photographs are courtesy of Tom Paul).

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