Yeovil Town manager Russell Slade is hopeful that his side's defence will be more watertight this coming season. The Glovers conceded 59 league goals last season - an increase of 20 goals on the previous campaign, but Russell told the Western Daily Press that he didn't believe that the defence were necessarily at fault for that statistic:
"To be fair to our back four I thought that too many times last year they were exposed by what was in front of them. We have now got a fitter Marc Bircham and Darren Way back and Danny Schofield, who doesn't mind back-tracking. The improvement across the midfield was evident in the win over Barnsley and that gives the back four more confidence."
Yeovil Town's best spell of last season came whilst Darren Way was on loan at Huish Park, and now he has returned to Somerset as a permanent signing he is hopeful that the dominance of the midfield can be restored. Russell is understandably cautious about bigging up Way's most senior midfield partner, Marc Bircham, but believes that that pre-season could be the most important period of Bircham's season:
"Darren came to us at Christmas (on loan) not 100 per cent fit, but with a pre-season behind him now I think he will go on from strength to strength. He has been immaculate so far in training and in the games. His influence and attitude just epitomises what you want from your midfield. Birch has come back in reasonable shape, so we will have to see how he progresses. He joined us on the army camp last summer and looked fine then. We will just have to watch it and hope he comes through. Pre-season will give him a real base to work from, which he didn't have last season. It became a bit of a vicious circle for him. 'Is he fit to play or do you play to get fit?"
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