Defender on training and season's expectations
Every player we interview seems to be saying the same thing; the pre-season training programme planned by manager Darrell Clarke is tough, and defender Lee Brown is of the same opinion.
“I would say it’s one of the toughest I’ve done, but the manager did warn us beforehand how difficult it was going to be. It turns out he wasn’t kidding!
“I should stress that we have had the footballs out as well as doing a great deal of running, but although we have been getting a feel for the ball it has been really tough.”
Five new signings have joined the squad to date.
“All the new lads seem to have settled in really well but, to be honest, it doesn’t take long for everyone to fit in and the banter soon begins to flow.”
Next week sees the squad spend a week at the University of South Wales, though they will travel to Cheltenham for a pre-season friendly on Tuesday.
“We are all itching for a game now; it seems to have been a long time since we last played. That, of course, was against Mansfield and those of us who were here last season just want to get out there and try to put things right.”
Although he was injured and didn’t play in that game, he was as affected by the descent into the Conference as everyone else.
“I have to admit that relegation was hard to take, especially as we have had a couple of months to reflect on that last game. Even now I find it difficult to get my head around it. However, we have to embrace it, take it on the chin, and get on with it.”
His first real taste of competitive football came in the Conference, when he was on loan at Salisbury whilst still a QPR player.
“I was very young at the time and found it very hard. It’s not an easy league and I would say it’s very similar to League Two. It’s going to be physical, without a shadow of a doubt, and it won’t be easy.
“I think we can expect to have to dig in and fight, and win headers and tackles, so fitness will be the key.”
About to begin his fourth season with the club, and having signed a new deal in the summer, ‘Browner’ is now one of the more experienced members of the squad. As such, he is well aware of the expectations ahead of the new campaign. After all, it’s been the same ever since he’s been here.
“When I’ve undertaken pre-season interviews in each of the three years I’ve been here I seem to have said that we will be aiming to get promoted, and it’s no different this year.
“There’s always going to be expectations here and the new lads will need to get to grips with that early on.
“We have quite a tough start with games against Grimsby and Barnet, both former league clubs.
“We are going to have to earn every point this year, and have to make sure we gain our first win on the opening day.”
The interview with Lee can be seen in full on Gas Player.