PAUL Collicutt says Evesham United’s pre-season problems will not deflect their determination to be 100 per cent ready for the new campaign.
The Robins’ injury woes have left Collicutt struggling for players and he admitted he was having to call in a few favours to field a team for last night’s (Thursday) Worcestershire Senior Cup semi-final against Kidderminster Harriers.
Collicutt has been keen to build on the positives after the uncertainty over Evesham being moved from the Southern League was ended after winning their FA appeal, but the past two weeks have raised problem after problem.
The much-depleted Robins were walloped 7-3 in Saturday’s friendly at home to Stratford Town before a much-improved performance earned a 1-1 draw against visitors Gloucester City on Tuesday.
Will Wellon (ankle), however, became the latest casualty while Evesham have even been frustrated in their bid to sign former Hereford striker Sam Pearson – because they have ran out of official registration forms.
“After the summer we’ve had, it’s been one thing after another but the most important thing is to make sure everyone is fit for August 6 when we kick off the league season,” said Collicutt.
“It’s not been ideal. We’ve had people missing, people injured and we’ve not got settled yet, but there’s time yet.
“Tuesday was a far better performance against Gloucester. We put in a performance over the full 90 minutes and it was probably the best performance in our pre-season games.
“We competed over the 90 minutes against a team that play two leagues above us. We created a lot of chances, scored early on through Paul Fahy and tested the Gloucester defence.”
Fahy had been one of the players stricken with injury after suffering a hamstring problem, but his return, plus game time for Ashley Williams, Lorcan Sheehan and Ben Prictor, will be a big plus.
Former Slimbridge forward Fahy gave the Robins the perfect start against Gloucester with a goal after two minutes. Pearson provided the cross and Fahy slotted home.
Gloucester, however, levelled through trialist Jean-Yves Koue Niate.
Striker Pearson is also set to commit himself to the Robins after featuring in the four warm-up games.
“We are just waiting for the signing-on forms – we’ve just run out – but I’m hopeful Sam will sign this week.”
One disappointment, though, was midfielder Wellon, having suffered a dead calf, then went over on his ankle.
If Evesham progress in the county cup, they will play Redditch United in the final at Bromsgrove Sporting on Saturday. The Reds beat Worcester City 2-0 in their semi-final.
On Tuesday Evesham entertain Littleton in a friendly.
Evesham will open the season with one of the matches of the day in Southern League Division One South & West when they head to newly-promoted phoenix club Salisbury.
Steve Claridge’s Salisbury, promoted as Wessex League champions, will be one of the title favourites, along with Hereford.
Evesham’s first home is against Didcot Town on Tuesday August 9, followed by a home clash with Wimborne Town on August 13.
For full match reports, go online to www.eveshamobserver.co.uk/sport.