Richard Pears delighted with Barnstaple Town’s return to preseason


Richard Pears says he is delighted with Barnstaple Town’s start to preseason, and is looking forward to the first friendly match.

Barum returned to training last Friday, and are preparing for their first preseason game against Plymouth Argyle next week, and manager Pears says it was exactly the start he wanted.

He said: “I’m delighted to get going. We had 17 players turn up which was brilliant, got to meet a lot of the lads which was something I was really pleased about.

“We had an excellent session, and it’s already got me thinking of planning, and we’re now looking forward to two further training sessions and the Plymouth game next Monday.

“All 17 were great and responded really well. We’re very positive about the session. It’s the exact start we wanted, and I think what was good was some of the players got to meet me and see how I work, which is boasts of energy, boasts of enthusiasm and wanting to develop and improve, so that bodes really well.”

Of the returning players, Barum’s Jack Jenkins has been appointed as vice-captain of the club, and Pears is pleased to have signed the midfielder on.

Pears said: “He signed last week so we’re really pleased to get Jack on board. He has excellent distribution and can pass the ball with both feet, so to get that on board in the middle of the park is a big bonus for us, and we’re going to the Plymouth game really looking forward to it.”

Pears’ first game in charge of the North Devon side is against Argyle, who are expected to bring a young squad to Mill Road, which the Barum boss prefers.

“I’m really thankful and grateful to Kevin Nancekivell to organise the fixture for us and bring a young side to Mill Road”, Pears said.

“For me, I would always rather play a team of youngsters wanting to do well as to opposed to playing their first team, which is not disrespectful to the first team, but when you’re playing professionals, their often using preseason to build themselves up, so it’s more of a practice game.

“Whereas when you’re playing young lads that have been offered first-year contracts and part of the academy, they all want to prove themselves, work hard and be organised, so they’re the types of games that we need.”

On how Barnstaple’s preseason differs from former clubs that Pears has managed such as Exmouth Town, he said: “It’s on a different level and it should be on a different level.

“It matches everything that meets my expectations at this level. I said to the players that when they arrive into the changing rooms or for match days, they need to have that mind-set that the only thing their focusing on is football and giving their absolute everything and what was good is I saw every one of them work hard.

“It’s always great to get that first session off and to get that first session really well.”

As well as Jenkins, Rob Knight has agreed to sign on at the club, and Pears says he has the potential to work with ion the future.

Pears said: “What was also good was I got to talk to a couple of lads individually, and as well as Jack, Rob Knight has agreed to sign on.

“Rob’s a young, talented forward from Witheridge, very raw. He turned up and reminded me of Phil Everett when I played with him at Tiverton. He had rugby shorts on, ripped t-shirts, ankle socks on, football boots, like he gathered his training gear from lost property.

“He’s extremely talented and got a great attitude, and were delighted to have signed him because I think he’s a potential one to work with in the future.”

And, former Barum goalkeeper Ryan Draper has agreed to join Pears’ coaching staff.

“I’ve got Ryan Draper in, who’s offering to help us out as a goalkeeping coach”, said Pears.

“He’s had a long history with Barnstaple, played at a very good level, so to bring a goalkeeping coach into my management team adds another string to my bow.”

Pears will now prepare his squad for Monday’s friendly against Argyle, and is looking forward to meeting everyone at the club.

He said: “It’s going to give supporters the chance to look at the team this year, and look at me, and allows me an opportunity to meet a lot of supporters, volunteers and matchday staff, so we’re enjoying every minute of it.

“We’ve made an excellent start and at this stage, it’s everything I could hope for really.”

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