Craig Elliott was impressed with how his Boston United side stood up to the physical test offered by Grantham Town last night.
The Pilgrims and Gingerbreads played out a goalless draw at the Meres Stadium, which saw last season’s top scorer Nicky Walker get his first minutes since overcoming a knee injury picked up at Blyth on April 6.
However, Jonathan Wafula limped off with a knee injury which has plagued him throughout pre-season.
United also gave a run-out to trialist Will Taylor, a defender formerly with Hull City.
Here are Elliott’s thoughts on the evening:
On Nicky Walker:
“He’s always been at the front of the fitness work and that showed.
“He probably thought he was coming off at half time but I wanted to push him as hard as I could.
“He looked lively and it was good to have him back, he’s a key player for us.”
On Jonathan Wafula’s injury:
“He’s been carrying a knee injury through most of pre-season so I don’t think he’s confident with it at all.
“We’ll have to talk with him and see how we best deal with it.
“He’s had a very up and down pre-season. He’s missed sessions, pulled out of sessions and not had many minutes in games.
“I would say, because of the levels I know he can be at, he’s struggling to be a frontrunner for the Chester game.”
On the Grantham test:
“We had to defend a lot more set pieces, corners, long balls into the box. From that point of view I think it was a much-needed test compared to the other friendlies.
“Every throw-in, corner or set piece they stick it in there. I said to our lads there are five or six teams in our league who’ll do that to you, and we’ve shown how we can deal with it.
“I think we could have done better at times, if I’m honest, but the pitch is difficult to play on.
“I think it was important to see how the less physical players coped against this (threat).
“In particular Alex Whittle, I thought he and Simon Ainge were the stand-out players.
“I’m happy and they needed minutes, so to get 90 minutes was pleasing.”
On trialist Will Taylor:
“He’s trained with us the last couple of weeks and I wanted to give him some minutes.
“I don’t think we’ll be in a position to offer him anything but he’s done well and I hope he gets something sorted.”