Yeovil Town commence their 2011-12 season tomorrow, with a trip to play West London side Brentford, having made radical changes to their squad since the dust settled at the end of last season. A total of twelve new signings have come into the club over the summer - fifteen if the awarding of three professional contracts to former Youth Team players are factored into the ranks that train up at Huish Park on a daily basis.
Whilst pre-season results and performances have gradually improved as the first team squad has taken shape, and the number of trialists on display has been cut downwards, it is only on Saturday at Griffin Park that Glovers fans will see how well the whole thing fits together. At one stage, with six out of Yeovil's seven contract offers being turned down, and players heading out the door, it looked as though there might be a struggle to form a capable squad, but the starting line-up for the final couple of pre-season friendlies largely came from a contracted set of players, who hopefully will have had a small amount of time to blend together.
Speaking to BBC Somerset, manager Terry Skiverton would not be drawn on whether his squad was better or worse than last season's collection of players that finished the 2010-11 season strongly. The Glovers boss pointed out that there were other factors that might affect how things turn out:
"I'm just happy with what I've got. It's a different season and it's a different year. We might have a stronger squad, but the league might be stronger this year, or the league might be weaker this year. We won't know until we start getting out there and playing the games. We've had a good pre-season, and we want to take that forward now and see if we can transform those pre-season performances into the league and get off to a good start."
For much of pre-season, the Glovers have lined up using a 3-4-1-2 formation, and it is highly likely that will be the one used for tomorrow's game at Griffin Park. With Norwich City keeper Jed Steer in goal, a back three of Bondz N'Gala, Paul Huntington and Max Ehmer should be supported by Luke Ayling and Nathan Jones playing as wing-backs. In midfield, captain Paul Wotton should partner Ed Upson, with Gavin Williams playing in front of them.
If there are any changes to the starting line-up from last week's game against Southampton it is likely to be up front, where Steve MacLean and Kieran Agard played last weekend. However, since then the signatures of Rory Fallon and Jonathan Obika have been confirmed, whilst Andy Williams has scored three times during pre-season. Exactly how Skiverton will cram five players into two positions tomorrow is anyone's guess - it would seem likely that whoever misses out will be on the bench.
The only likely absentee tomorrow is midfielder Dominic Blizzard, who has not been seen since picking up an ankle injury against Truro City. However, the cutting down of allowable substitutes down to five again for the 2011-12 season means that a number of players will be sat in the stand tomorrow.
Kick-off at Griffin Park is at 3.00p.m. and as usual we'll be providing our matchday Twitter coverage - follow us for an idea of what's going on. If you're going to the match, don't forget that the Ciderspace guide and ticketing information is available via the links below. If you're travelling close to kick-off time, then we'd recommend that you take the M25-M4 route into Brentford, and avoid the tail end of the M3, where you'll find there is a rugby match on at Twickenham - you have been warned!
Yeovil Town Squad Changes From Last Season:
Players Remaining From Last Season: Paul Huntington, Luke Ayling, Ed Upson, Andy Williams, Paul Wotton, Billy Gibson, Nathan Jones (assistant manager), Gareth Stewart (goalkeeping coach).
Loan Players Retained From Last Season: Max Ehmer, Jonathan Obika.
New Signings: Jed Steer (goalkeeper, loan), Bondz N'Gala, Curtis Haynes-Brown (defenders), Gavin Williams, Anthony Edgar, Dominic Blizzard, Alistair Slowe (midfielders), Kieran Agard, Steve MacLean, Rory Fallon (strikers).
Graduated From Youth Programme: Rhys Baggridge, Lewis Clarke, Rob Clowes.
Left Club Over Summer: Sam Williams, Craig Calver, Martin Gritton, Stefan Stam (all released), Andy Welsh (Carlisle), Dean Bowditch (MK Dons), Nathan Smith (Chesterfield), Adam Virgo (Bristol Rovers), Craig Alcock (Peterborough), Alex Russell (Bath City).
Left Club After Loans Expired: Stephen Henderson, Shaun MacDonald, Andrew Tutte, Oli Johnson.
Link: Ciderspace Guide To Brentford.
Link: Ticketing For Brentford vs Yeovil Town.
Link: GWSC Travel To Brentford.
Link: Officials For Brentford vs Yeovil Town.
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