Goalkeeper on pre-season training and the new season
Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall faced the press at the training ground this morning and we began by asking whether it was good to be back and if he and the other goalkeepers did as much running as the outfield players, which prompted this response!
“In one sense it is good to be back and catching up with some familiar faces and meeting the new lads.
“However pre-season is never nice; this will be my 19th and I still lay awake on Sunday night thinking about what the first day might bring.
“It didn’t disappoint, as the gaffer was true to his word and it turned out to be very hard!
“Still, pre-season is all about gaining fitness and although we are only two days in I have to say it’s gone well.
“As for the running, I have to say that we don’t do the same amount of running as the outfield players, though that hasn’t always been the case.
“When I first started out in the game we didn’t touch a ball for the first two weeks and had to do the same running as everyone else. The other players loved it, of course, because when the keepers did the running it always made them look better!
“Nowadays we tend to do a couple of days’ base running and then go off into specifics with our goalkeeping coach.
“We don’t need to be able to run forever, and our training consists of short, sharp, bursts and I have to say some of the other lads take the mickey about why we don’t run with them.
“Last season we took a few of them and put them in goal after a training session and all I will say is just ask Tom Parkes how hard he thought it was!”
Just like the rest of us, ‘Mildy’ isn’t finding it easy to forget that we will start the new season as a non-league club.
“I’d be lying if I said there aren’t days when it hits me. It’s something I’ve never experienced before and has been very hard to take; I guess you could say that I’m still in shock
“Thankfully there are some new faces here now and it’s important to use their positivity to look towards the start of a new season.
“We need to make sure we hit the ground running on 9th August, because there are a lot of wrongs that need to be put right. I know it’s easy to say that, but we need to do it.”
There is, of course, one major positive in that we have managed to retain the same personnel in the key defensive areas, as ‘Mildy’ and all of last season’s back four remain at the club.
“Hopefully that gives us a good base to build on. We kept 15 clean sheets last season and we were still relegated but, as a team, we didn’t do enough to get things right at the other end.
“We have had a fairly settled, and well balanced, back four since I first arrived here 18 months ago and hopefully the new players coming in will provide us with an attacking impetus and bring us a new outlook and optimism.
“I have to say that relegation still hurts me as I’m sure it’s still hurting our supporters. I know how much they love the club and I hope they will be back for the first home game of the season.
“I also hope we have a big crowd and that we hit the ground running and it and get off to a flying start.”