Mark pleased with friendly against Real Betis
Mark Robins was pleased with tonight’s run out against La Liga side Real Betis, despite the 4-2 reversal.
“I thought it was a good game and a really good workout. We were certainly put through our paces, but I thought we gave them a pretty good game,” Mark told htafc.com.
“We got a couple of really good goals and went close to another couple, but they are an outstanding team; we won’t come up against a better technical side this season. It will stand us in good stead for playing teams in the Championship, because the way they pass the ball and move made us keep the gaps tight as they tried to pass through us.
“I think we passed the ball as well as we have done – probably better in some cases – against first class opposition. They have outstanding quality, but I thought we dealt with them really well. There were some good performances tonight.”
Mark picked out Town’s two goal-scorers – Martin Paterson and James Vaughan – among the good performers.
“Martin is a great lad and good to have around the dressing room. He’s settled in really well and the goals will come. He’s missed a lot of footballer, so if we can keep him on the pitch he has a contribution to make.
“Vaughany was desperate to score his first pre-season goal and he got it tonight, which will do him the world of good.”
Robins also started for the second successive friendly with youngster Jordan Sinnott in central midfield.
“Jordan is a good player. If you can play a youngster in pre-season games and have a good look at him, there will never be a time to do it. The good thing is we’re not blocking his path with loads and loads of players and he’s showing good promise; he’s worked his way forward. He still has a long way to go, but I think he’s a good footballer.”
Sinnott was replaced at half-time by the returning Oscar Gobern and Mark was pleased with his impact.
“Oscar did alright. You could see he was tiring and he’s not ready for the full 90, but I’m hoping in the next 10 days we can get him ready for the start of the season.
“He’s a different player than when I took over; he’s improved and got stronger over the summer. He’s been training despite the setback with his jaw, although that was running and not joining in with us. He’s a couple of weeks behind the rest in terms of his fitness, but we can use the next 10 days to bring him along.”
Irishman Jake Carroll also got his first taste of action at his new home – and was punished for a small error by the clinical Spaniards for one of their goals.
Mark continued: “Jake came on at half-time and really needed to settle down. If it had been another ten minutes into the half he would have been fine, but he just got caught out. It was important he got his first taste of our stadium and I have no qualms about it.”
Town also gave a run-out to trialist striker Cristian Lopez Santamaria in the second-half, who made an impression with an energetic performance.
“He looked lively,” Mark admitted. “He’s had a few clubs, including Real Madrid and Valencia, and we’re having a look at him. He’s not fit, but he ran around and made an impression. He might have extended his stay tonight, but I’ll speak with his representatives tonight and see if we can keep him on for a little while.”
Next up for Mark and the First Team is Saturday’s game at Boundary Park against Oldham Athletic.
“Oldham is a different kind of game, but their new manager Lee Johnson is trying to get them playing. They will play in his own image, because he was a good footballer. It’s another interesting game on what will be a good surface at this stage of the season; it’s another one we’re looking forward to.
“It soon stops becoming a dress rehearsal. We have to make sure we are right at it and we have one game and 10 days left to do it. I’m looking for everyone to have a real go at getting in the starting line-up for the Forest game.
“Jon Stead, Calum Woods and Keith Southern could be back next week, but it could be beyond that. I wouldn’t want to put a fixed time on it, because it depends on how each individual recovers.”
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