After disappointing pre – season results against non league opposition, Yeovil Town welcomed Championship side Reading for their first friendly at Huish Park. The match finished 1-1 and Gary Johnson was pleased with the performance as the Glovers drew their third game in a row. Speaking to ytfc.net after the game, Johnson revealed he was “pleased with the group…they worked hard and tried to play our game.” Despite making eight new signings, the club are still keen to strengthen the squad ahead of the new season. In order to do this Town have welcomed former Glovers winger Andy Welsh on trial, as well as former Nottingham Forest midfielder Simon Gillett. Most recently Gillett spent time on loan at Bristol City, as well has having a four game loan spell with the Glovers in 2007. Welsh is certainly no stranger having made over 100 appearances for the club across three seasons, leaving the club in 2011.
In addition, the squad also included “Trialist A”, “Trialist B”, “Trialist C” and “Trialist D” who started on the bench for the Reading game. Johnson was keen to keep their names under wraps to avoid any other club trying to snap them up. Post match, the good humoured gaffer said “I was pleased with A…B done alright and C and D will be getting another chance.” Andy Welsh, who is back playing following what was a torrid season for him due to a what was originally thought to be a career threatening knee injury, played 45 minutes before being forced to leave the field with a head injury. It was revealed that it was a nasty blow to the head that required stitches but that the popular winger is okay. Simon Gillett managed to play 60 minutes and impressed Gary with his fitness; “He did well to play the hour or so….he’s a good footballer… we wanted to give them [Gillett and Welsh] the opportunity to show us that they still can be a part of a division one winning group.”
Gillett in action for Bristol City last season.
The trialists played their part in a relatively even match in which Reading took the lead early in the second half thanks to a close range header from Pavel Pogrebnyak, but Town hit back when a Liam Davis free kick was head home by “Trialist B.” After the conclusion of the match it became widely known that the forward in question was Frenchman Achille Campion. Taking to his personal twitter account to confirm, he wrote “After a good two weeks with Sheffield Wednesday, it was good to play against Championship side Reading FC and get a goal for Yeovil Town. Love English Football.” This also confirms that he previously had an unsuccessful trial at Hillsborough.
Not only did the Glovers enjoy a positive result back on home soil, but they also generated excitement from fans regarding the trialists on show at Huish Park. Many tweets mentioned the impact that Gillett had on the game in midfield as well as a keen interest in mystery trialist number 17.
A lot of love for trialist number 17 today 🙂 Needs to be signed tomorrow. So talented!! #ytfc
— Jamie Lock (@JLock_93) July 19, 2014
Top afternoon watching #ytfc. Impressed with Gillett in midfield and the trialist wearing number 17 was excellent.
— Andy Cleave (@CleaveO) July 19, 2014
This match was perfect for fans to get a glimpse of their new side for the coming season but there is still a lot of work to be done. The defensive options for Yeovil seem to be coming together, with all players under contract fighting for their starting place. Artur Krysiak and Chris Weale competing for the number 1 shirt, Seth Nana Twumasi and Brendan Maloney look to be trying to impress at right back, with Jakub Sokolik, Aaron Martin and Ben Nugent set to fight it out in central defence. Nathan Smith and Liam Davies will also be working hard to consolidate their place at left back. The concern still lies in midfield with creativity being something Yeovil lacked last season after the departure of Ed Upson to Millwall in January. Sam Foley in particular will have to work hard to warrant a start on the left wing with experienced Andy Welsh looking to secure a contract. Joe Edwards was one of the stand out performers in the Championship and will relish an experienced partner in central midfield, Simon Gillett could be just that. It is a positive time for the relegated club who host local rivals and Conference newcomers Bristol Rovers at Huish Park on Tuesday 22nd July. They will expect to get a positive result but more importantly will want to edge closer to deciding on a starting 11 for the new season.
“We’re still mixing and matching…but we are as pleased as we can be. There wasn’t a first team out there yet.” With more hard work to come Gary Johnson seems confident of his pre – season developments and will not rush to choose a team that he and his staff are completely confident in.