League One side Bury are looking for a new manager just before the 2012-13 season starts after they lost their first team manager Richie Barker today. The 37 year old has taken up the vacant post at Crawley, signing a two year contract at the Broadfield Stadium, replacing Sean O'Driscoll who shocked the League One newcomers by heading to Nottingham Forest before taking charge of a competitive fixture.
O'Driscoll's departure has triggered a chain reaction that has led to Bury's loss - the Shakers have cited Barker's wish to move down to the South as being behind the move, saying that after discussions "it became clear that the primary factor in Richie's decision to leave was his desire to be closer to his young family on the South Coast."
Bury have placed Peter Shirtliff in temporary charge of their first team, with Ben Futcher as his caretaker assistant manager.
Yeovil Town maintained their pre-season unbeaten run tonight, as a 1-1 draw against Premier League side Stoke City saw them draw in their eighth practice match. A goalless first half burst into life during a ten minute period just after the break, as Reuben Reid's penalty opened the scoring after Byron Webster was fouled in the box. Then the Potters grabbed their equalising goal through Kenwyne Jones as his backpost header saw the visitors level to give them their second draw in the West Country in 24 hours, having also played Torquay United last night.
The Glovers went into the match missing two key players, as Rohan Ince continued treatment on a shin injury back at parent club Chelsea, whilst Gavin Williams missed his third consecutive match with calf muscle problems. For Stoke City, former loan pair Asmir Begovic and Marc Wilson got the chance to start against their former club, although there was no place for the likes of Rory Delap, Peter Crouch and Robert Huth in a relatively strong Potters starting line-up.
Both sides had their chances during the first period, with Ryan Shawcross almost putting into his own net from a Reuben Reid cross, whilst James Hayter headed over the bar. Stokes best chance came via trialist Sebastian Boenisch who forced a terrific save out of Marek Stech, after Stoke's Jamie Ness and Glenn Whelan had combined to good effect down the channel following a free kick. Reading loanee Gozie Ugwu was once again playing as a winger, and he showed that he knew how to drive at the full-back with an excellent run, but his final ball to Reuben Reid was poor and the two sides went in at the break without beating the keepers.
Three minutes into the second period, Yeovil Town got a shock breakthrough after Ryan Shawcross fouled Byron Webster in the box, giving the Glovers the chance of a spot kick to open the scoring. Up stepped Reuben Reid and although Asmir Begovic guessed the right way, he couldn't get his hand to the ball, with the penalty kick putting Yeovil Town 1-0 up against Premier League opposition.
Unsurprisingly Stoke came back at them - with Ryan Shotton's cross-cum-shot clipping the crossbar as he sought out Kenwyne Jones. However, nine minutes after the Yeovil opener, Sebastian Boenisch got in down the left flank, and his deep cross into the box, and Jones planted an excellent header home on the back stick, with the Glovers perhaps guilty of losing their marker as Stoke levelled the game.
Both sides made a series of second half substitutions, although with Yeovil only having four available outfield substitutes, their options were a little more slender as legs on both sides tired somewhat. In the dying stages, Cameron Jerome could have won it as he tried to stab a loose ball home but couldn't get his tow on it, then Danny Higginbotham blasted well wide of the target in the final minute.
Overall, a good performance from a Glovers side that tired a little in the second period, but did not look overawed by their Premier League opposition. Reuben Reid got the sponsors man of the match, not only for his penalty, but for leading the line well. With six of the ten outfield players getting through 90 minutes, with a near first choice eleven competing, the Glovers are timing the end of their pre-season schedule well.
Yeovil Town: 1. Marek Stech
2. Luke Ayling 4. Richard Hinds 5. Byron Webster 3. Jamie McAllister (c)
19. Gozie Ugwu 6. Dominic Blizzard 8. Ed Upson 14. Sam Foley
9. James Hayter 11. Reuben Reid
Yeovil Substitutes: 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown (71 mins for James Hayter) 12. Gareth Stewart 15. Lewis Young (71 mins for Luke Ayling) 16. Nathan Ralph (80 mins for Jamie McAllister) 20. Curtis Haynes-Brown (80 mins for Sam Foley)
Stoke City: 1. Asmir Begovic 5. Sebastian Boenisch 12. Marc Wilson 17. Ryan Shawcross 20. Matthew Upson 26. Matthew Etherington 6. Glenn Whelan 18. Dean Whitehead 9. Kenwyne Jones 19. Jonathan Walters 30. Ryan Shotton.
Stoke Substitutes: 8. Jamie Ness (25 mins for Matthew Etherington) 33. Cameron Jerome (46 for Marc Wilson) 40. Wilson Palacios (60 mins for Dean Whitehead) 32. Diego Arismendi (60 mins for Glenn Whelan) 24. Rory Delap (65 mins for Jonathan Walters), 23. Michael Tonge (71 mins for Kenwyne Jones), 3. Danny Higginbotham (71 mins for Sebastian Boenisch)
Yeovil Town have named their starting eleven that will take on Premier League side Stoke City at Huish Park tonight. They go into the match missing midfield pair Rohan Ince (leg) and Gavin Williams (calves) who are both receiving attention on the treatment table. However, Byron Webster has recovered from a rib injury and is able to take his place in the starting line-up.
As expected for Stoke City, former Glovers loan keeper Asmir Begovic lines up against his former club - the inclusion of another ex-loanee Marc Wilson is more of a surprise, given that he played 90 minutes against Torquay United last night. England striker Peter Crouch is at Huish Park but is not in their starting line-up.
Yeovil Town: 1. Marek Stech 2. Luke Ayling 3. Jamie McAllister (c) 4. Richard Hinds 5. Byron Webster 6. Dominic Blizzard 8. Ed Upson 9. James Hatyer 11. Reuben Reid 14. Sam Foley 19. Gozie Ugwu
Yeovil Substitutes: 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown 12. Gareth Stewart 15. Lewis Young 16. Nathan Ralph 20. Curtis Haynes-Brown
Stoke City: 1. Asmir Begovic 5. Sebastian Boenisch 12. Marc Wilson 17. Ryan Shawcross 20. Matthew Upson 26. Matthew Etherington 6. Glenn Whelan 18. Dean Whitehead 9. Kenwyne Jones 19. Jonathan Walters 30. Ryan Shotton.
Stoke Substitutes: TBA.
Looking ahead to tonight's match, which is the club's first against higher league opposition this year, midfielder Ed Upson sees the game against the Potters as a good benchmark to see how strong the Glovers squad really is:
"They'll be a good team, obviously, as they're Premier League, and so it will be a good test for us to see where we're at in our pre-season. Obviously we're doing well, so it will be a good test and we can really go for it."
Striker Reuben Reid agrees, recognising that so far the club have played five sides outside the Football League, and two more in the division below them. He therefore sees the match against Stoke as a night where the team will need stick to their gameplan:
"We've played lower league teams so far, so obviously it's going to be a very good test for us, against a Premier League side. So everybody will be up for it. But don't count us out not to give them a good game. If we stick to our gameplan and do what we do well, and all the players come to the table, then it should be a good game."
Officials for Yeovil Town's opening competitive game of the 2012-13 season have been published by the Football League. Due to the London 2012 Olympics, the season opens with a League Cup First Round match against Colchester United which will take place on Tuesday 14th August 2012 at Huish Park, with a 7.45p.m. kick-off.
The referee in charge of the game will be Simon Hooper (Wiltshire). Mr Hooper was promoted to the Football League in the summer of 2008, and we've had him six times as the man in the middle.
The earliest occasion was October 2008, when a 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient saw him a little too trigger-happy in terms of stopping the game and failing to play advantage for both teams. We also weren't too happy about him missing a fairly blatant penalty shout for an off the ball foul on striker Scott Rendell. That was his first match at League One level, so some allowances should be made for his lack of experience at that time.
Next up was the August 2009 trip to play Huddersfield Town, where he was a late replacement as referee. He awarded us a penalty that day, and although we went on to lose the game, anyone who awards a spot kick to an away team at a stadium the size of the Galpharm deserves credit for a brave decision.
The third encounter was the November 2009 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic. In a game played in atrocious weather conditions, Mr Hooper sent off Charlton's Sam Sodje half an hour into the game for a professional foul. Another brave decision, but to our (biased) eyes, the correct one. We had no other comments about his handling of the match.
Mr Hooper was at Huish Park for the September 2010 game against Southampton and we were a little less enthused about his brave decision-making. To be fair he had a decent game overall, and did give us one penalty for a trip on Gavin Williams, but it was his earlier decision to not award a spot kick for a foul on Andy Williams in the box that had us grumbling during the game.
Moving on to January 2011, he took charge of the home match against Milton Keynes Dons. During this match, he sent off Jean-Paul Kalala for an off the ball incident involving ex-Glover Michael McIndoe. No complaints about the Kalala decision, although our (extremely biased) opinion was that McIndoe should have walked with him. However, we did feel that the whole situation that had been brewing for the previous 84 minutes was partly the responsibility of a referee who wasn't doing enough to diffuse situations.
Mr Hooper's most recent visit to Huish Park was for manager Gary Johnson's first 'proper' game in charge for his second spell, having returned to the club at the start of that week. No complaints here about Mr Hooper's performance ... except that he failed to finish the match! He suffered a second half hamstring injury and had to leave the field.
Mr Hooper will be assisted by Robert Ellis (West Midlands) and Andrew Bennett (Devon). The Fourth Official will be Derek Eaton (Gloucestershire).
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson admits that tonight's visitors Stoke City will present a very different sort of test for the club's eighth pre-season friendly, as they prepare for the start of the 2012-13 season. Whilst the club have so far had seven matches against lower league opposition - with just two teams from the Football League - they will come up against a Potters side that last season competed in the Europa League, playing twelve matches last season at that level.
Speaking to BBC Somerset, Johnson believes that his side will still be able to stick to their own 'brand' of football, as they aim to keep up their on the deck passing style. However, he admits that a lot will come down to how his team cope when the visiting side gain possession:
"It's good that we've got a Premier League side coming down to Huish Park. I want us to be able to show our football against that type of opposition, because in my opinion if you've got a football team, then they can play against any opposition. It's when the opposition have the ball that you're in trouble. So we've got to make sure that we're nice and sharp, and nice and solid - and to make sure that we're committed, so that when they've got the ball, we try to get it back quickly."
Whilst recent summers have been dominated by the club bringing in large numbers of trialists, and the list of contracted players only known late on, this year Johnson has brought in a different ethic - forming a squad of eighteen players early on that has contained just two loan players. He said that bringing in those players at the start of the pre-season schedule has added to the excitment he feels in what he is working on:
"I got the tingle when I started getting the group together, early on in pre-season. We did get them in early enough, so that we did a lot of work with them as a group. There's no excuses now if we're not ready enough as a team, when the season comes round."
So far, the club have managed five wins and two draws in their seven pre-season friendlies, giving the potential chance to go through all nine matches unbeaten before the season starts. Gary admits that would be nice, but says that's not the be-all and end-all of the situation:
"Obviously we've got just a week or so to go now, and two pre-season friendlies to go, and it would be nice to keep our unbeaten record going. It's not necessarily the results that show whether it's gone well. It's whether you can see your shape, your pattern in your team and in your players. We've got that, we think. We've just got to get that fine-tuning now - that last little bit of work, that makes them match-ready for three points."
Tonight's match at Huish Park kicks off at 7.45p.m. with tickets still available from the Ticket Office.
With tonight's visitors Stoke City playing a pre-season friendly last night against Torquay United, the team that they will send to Huish Park will no doubt be influenced by that line-up.
The Potters fielded a strong line-up at Plainmoor, but made ten substitutions during the match, suggesting that they will probably do the same tonight. Former Yeovil Town loanee Marc Wilson played a full 90 minutes down in Devon, suggesting that he will not be involved in tonight's game. However, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic - the other player with Glovers connections - did not feature at all, giving hopes that he will be lined up to start against his old club.
Last night, Stoke gave a trial to former Werder Bremen left-back Sebastian Boenisch and manager Tony Pulis has indicated he is likely to feature in tonight's game as well, as he is short of match fitness. The Potters also are hoping that they can still draft in Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Michael Kightly, who they are trying to agree a transfer with. However, Robert Huth is highly unlikely to feature in tonight's match, despite missing the trip to Plainmoor - he has gone to hospital with a virus.
The most likely scenario is that in addition to goalkeeper Begovic, that the bulk of Stoke's starting line-up tonight would be selected from those on the substitutes bench at Plainmoor. Last night's line-up in Devon is shown below. In terms of the game itself, Torquay drew 1-1 with Stoke, after a late Billy Bodin equaliser grabbed a draw for the home side. Stoke's goal was unwittingly scored by former Glovers trialist Aaron Downes, who deflected the ball into his own net just before half time.
Stoke City (starting line-up vs Torquay United): 29. Thomas Sorensen 5. Sebastian Boenisch 6. Glenn Whelan 12. Marc Wilson 17. Ryan Shawcross 19. Jonathan Walters 20. Matthew Upson 25. Peter Crouch 26. Matthew Etherington 30. Ryan Shotton 40. Wilson Palacios
Substitutes: 3. Danny Higginbotham (62 mins for Ryan Shawcross) 8. Jamie Ness (52 mins for Matthew Etherington) 9. Kenwyne Jones (46 mins for Peter Crouch) 11. Mamady Sidibe (62 mins for Ryan Shotton) 18. Dean Whitehead (52 mins for Glenn Whelan) 23. Michael Tonge (62 mins for Sebastian Boenisch) 24. Rory Delap 28. Andy Wilkinson (62 mins for Matthew Upson) 32. Diego Arismendi (62 mins for Wilson Palacios) 33. Cameron Jerome (46 mins for Jonathan Walters) XX. Carlo Nash (62 mins for Thomas Sorensen)
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson laid his club's problem out bare this morning, as part of the club's annual photo shoot. With the Glovers having yet to find a first team shirt sponsor for the 2012-13 season, the first team squad were asked to turn out for the team group with something missing - their shirts!
Johnson's logic was "no shirt sponsor - no shirt" as the players (but mercifully not the management staff) went topless for their team photo in the hope that the publicity gained would result in someone getting in touch with the club.
As reported last month, last season's sponsors Jones Building Contractors have declined the opportunity to extend their deal, and so the club have been wearing unsponsored shirts during all of their pre-season friendlies so far. Johnson told BBC Somerset that the club had received interest from prospective sponsors, but they were holding out for the right bidder. He joked that he'd insisted that he was one of the few to keep his own shirt on during the photo shoot:
"It was my idea for the staff to keep their shirts on! Yes, it was (my idea). I think there's been a lot of interest from sponsors. But we feel that we're going to have a successful season. So obviously we need to make sure that the sponsors are paying the right sort of sponsorship money to be on our shirt. If we haven't got a sponsor at the moment then you can't wear the shirt."
Johnson explained that he dropped the hint to the players that they would be asked to 'strip off' for Monday morning's session. However, claimed that his players reaction was to head down the gym to tone themselves up for the occasion:
"I just felt that the boys have been working out over the last couple of days in preparation, and did a few press-ups before! It just highlights really that we are still looking for a sponsor. It's a little bit tongue-in-cheek of course; it's not serious. A few of the lads look okay and a few of them look like they need to get in the gym a bit more!"
Those wishing to put the shirt back on the players backs should get in contact with Glovers Commercial Manager Dave Linney on 01935 847872 or email him at email@example.com
Tomorrow evening's Premier League opponents Stoke City will be splitting their first team squad over the coming couple of days as they play two matches in the South-West on consecutive days. Tony Pulis is taking his squad down to Devon tonight to face League Two side Torquay United tonight, and will then travel back to Somerset the next day for Tuesday evening's fixture at Huish Park.
That means that those who land on the bench or do not feature in the Monday evening game at Plainmoor will be more likely to start at Huish Park, and so we should get a better idea of their line-up once the game in Devon has been played. The Potters have just returned from a three game tour in the USA, playing sides from Columbus, Orlando and Kansas, returning to the UK on Friday. Pulis has told his club's website that he expects the Gulls and Glovers to pose very different tests:
"Both Torquay and Yeovil are in the final stages of their pre-season, so they will really be up for it. They will want to produce a good performance against Premier League opposition to set them up nicely for the start of their League campaigns. They will provide us with a big test and the cooler conditions will no doubt mean that the pace of the games will be different to those in the States."
As yet, Stoke have had a fairly low key summer in terms of transfers, with 21 year old midfielder Jamie Ness the only major arrival, from Glasgow Rangers. Right-back Ben Glasgow is another signing, with the 18 year old coming in from Arsenal on his first professional contract. They are currently trying to sign Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Michael Kightly but it's doubtful as to whether that deal will be completed by tomorrow.
Heading out the other way, defender Danny Collins has gone to Nottingham Forest, defender Jonathan Woodgate has signed for Middlesbrough, striker Ryan Brunt has joined Leyton Orient on loan, whilst Walsall have grabbed midfielder Florent Cuvelier for six months.
Tomorrow's match kicks off at 7.45p.m. with tickets available on the day at the following tariffs:
Visiting Stoke City supporters should note that the Copse Road Away Terrace will not be open for tomorrow night's fixture. Away supporters will instead be housed in the Screwfix (East) Stand. All three home sides of the Huish Park ground will be open for Yeovil Town supporters.
As far as the Glovers team is concerned, they are expected to be without Chelsea loanee Rohan Ince, who is back at Stamford Bridge following a leg injury, whilst trialist James Clarke has been let go. Three other players will require fitness tests, with Gavin Williams (calf), Byron Webster (ribs) and Keanu Marsh-Brown (groin) having sat out the last pre-season friendly with knocks.
Yeovil Town have decided against offering Oxford City defender James Clarke a new contract. The 22 year old had been on trial at the club, playing in pre-season friendlies against Hereford United, Llanelli AFC and Newport County, separated by a gap caused by a minor injury.
According to the Western Daily Press, manager Gary Johnson has decided against a contract on the basis that Clarke would be better off seeking a club that can offer him more guaranteed first team football.
Meanwhile, defender/midfielder Rohan Ince has temporarily returned to parent club Chelsea, and was not present for this morning's annual first team photo. At present his injury - following a tackle in last Friday's match at Newport County - is not thought to be serious, but for the moment he is back at Stamford Bridge receiving treatment.
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has said that he may send Rohan Ince for an X-ray tomorrow if there are still concerns over the tackle he sustained in Friday night's match against Newport County. With the first team squad having returned from their week in South Wales, their final fixture was marred by the Chelsea loanee failing to complete the fixture at Rodney Parade - limping off after a poor tackle by County player Max Porter.
Johnson has told today's Sunday Independent that he felt the tackle was excessive, and that although they don't yet know the damage, Ince's immediate reaction to it gave cause for concern:
"It was a poor tackle and we don't know how bad the injury is yet. It was a poor challenge for a pre-season friendly, however competitive you want it to be. The lad caught him on the shin and his leg went numb, which makes you fear the worst."
The Glovers boss said that with the new 2012-13 season due to kick-off in around 10 days time with a League Cup match that there were obvious concerns, and that he was likely to send him to have a scan if there was still discomfort on Monday morning:
"We'll keep our fingers crossed that he's fit and available for the start of the season, but he's in a bit of pain. He'll probably go for an X-ray to check it out but we have to wait for it to settle down first. I really hope he's okay because he's going to be a big player for us and we're going to need him."
Ince may well be joined in the X-ray unit by defender Byron Webster, who has sore ribs after suffering a knock in last Tuesday's match at Llanelli. Other players who missed the Newport County game are less of a concern - Keanu Marsh-Brown (groin) and Gavin Williams (calves) were both omitted but Johnson says that they were more 'resting' because of soreness, rather than suffering from serious problems.
Former Yeovil Town right-back Lee Peltier has left Leicester City after one season with the Foxes. The former Huddersfield Town defender made 47 appearances in the Championship last season, but has now agreed a three year contract with Leeds United, signing for an undisclosed fee. Huddersfield themselves had been interested in taking back the 25 year old for a second spell, but instead he has penned a deal with their Yorkshire rivals.
Former Yeovil Town striker James Walker has found himself a new club this week, signing for Conference South side Eastbourne Borough. The 24 year old has been snapped up after being released by Dover Athletic at the end of last season.
Fairly remarkably, this is Walker's 12th club, despite being aged just 24 years old. Since his loan spell with Yeovil Town during the 2007-08 season, that appeared to be pitching his career on an upward climb, his £200,000 transfer to Southend United failed to ignite, and he has since worked his way through Hereford United, Gillingham, Leyton Orient and Woking before spending the 2011-12 season with Dover.
Following Friday night's 3-1 win over Newport County at Rodney Parade, Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson spoke to local journalist Chris Spittles about the game. In an interview for BBC Somerset, Gary's post-match thoughts can be read via the link below.
Yeovil Town completed their week in South Wales tonight, with a 3-1 win over Newport County that continues their good pre-season form. Having played seven fixtures, all against lower league opposition, the Glovers have clocked up five wins and two draws, and gained victory tonight thanks to two first half goals from Reuben Reid and Nathan Ralph, whilst Reading loanee Gozie Ugwu got his fourth in pre-season as he netted in the second period, with Newport's goal coming late on from the penalty spot as Andy Sandell converted after a handling offence.
The first half saw a somewhat experimental starting line-up with trialist James Clarke getting another chance to impress as a centre-back. The line-up saw Gozie Ugwu and Nathan Ralph tried out as wingers, whilst Ed Upson rested his legs on the bench. There was only one player missing, with Gavin Williams still out with a calf injury - Dominic Blizzard got his first pre-season outing as he recovers from a broken hand.
The game's opening goal came from Nathan Ralph's advanced position on the field, as his cross into the box gave Reuben Reid the chance to finish from close range with quarter of an hour gone. Overall the first half was played at a slightly slow pace at times, with Yeovil passing well, but without serious end product, even if Gozie Ugwu should have extended Yeovil's lead when his header on goal was blocked. County's chances were rarer, with Mike Flynn having the best chance for the home side.
Yeovil doubled their lead when former Newport County hero Sam Foley crossed into the box, and Nathan Ralph was on hand to head powerfully home, just as the game went into first half injury time. Foley got an excellent reception from the home supporters, and even received a Fair Play Award from the club prior to kick-off, but did not allow room for sentimentality once he got on the pitch.
Half time brought a significant reshuffle with four players coming on at the break and a series of substitutions. Luke Young came on as a right-winger, allowing Gozie Ugwu to go up front, whilst the introduction of Ed Upson and Rohan Ince allowed Sam Foley to move out onto the left wing. The substitution of Richard Hinds and Jamie McAllister allowed Nathan Ralph to drop deep down to left-back, whilst Curtis Haynes-Brown took a central position.
Within five minutes of the restart, Yeovil went further ahead, with Reading loanee Gozie Ugwu getting his fourth pre-season goal. Collecting a Rohan Ince pass, he controlled it well, beat his marker and confidently fired home to set up a 3-0 scoreline.
The second half had a higher tempo to it, with the Glovers looking a more organised unit and midfield pairing Ed Upson and Rohan Ince powering forward at times. With five minutes to go though, that organisation was disrupted somewhat as Max Porter's tackle on Ince left the Chelsea man in pain and needing to leave the field, looking distinctly unimpressed by the situation.
Perhaps surprisingly Yeovil played out the remaining time with just ten men rather than make another substitution, or reintroduce any of the substituted players. During that time, the home side pulled a late goal back - Jefferson Louis' shot was handled by James Clarke, gifting Newport a penalty. Andy Sandell took it, and scored past Gareth Stewart to give the Exiles a late consolation on the night.
Yeovil Town: 12. Gareth Stewart
2. Luke Ayling, 4. Richard Hinds, 18. James Clarke, 3. Jamie McAllister (C)
19. Gozie Ugwu, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 14. Sam Foley, 16. Nathan Ralph
9. James Hayter, 11. Reuben Reid.
Substitutes: 1. Marek Stech, 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown, 8. Ed Upson (46 mins for Dominic Blizzard), 15. Lewis Young (46 mins for James Hayter), 17. Rohan Ince (46 mins for Richard Hinds), 20. Curtis Haynes-Brown (46 mins for Jamie McAllister).
Yeovil Town have selected their squad for tonight's trip to Rodney Parade that sees them play their seventh pre-season friendly of the 2012-13 campaign, with Conference National side Newport County their opponents. Gavin Williams (calf) and Byron Webster (ribs) are absent from tonight's squad, however Luke Ayling (foot) is able to return to the side.
The most welcome sight in the line-up is that of midfielder Dominic Blizzard who takes part in his first pre-season friendly of the season, having broken his hand in training.
There is a bit of juggling about for tonight's line-up with Marek Stech and Ed Upson sitting this one out, and also the hint at either a new formation, or a few new ideas of where players could play, with a 5-3-2, 4-3-3 or a diamond formation possible to construct out of the starting line-up, with three forwards selected along with two left-backs. The eleven that start read as follows:
Yeovil Town: 12. Gareth Stewart
2. Luke Ayling, 4. Richard Hinds, 18. James Clarke, 3. Jamie McAllister (C)
19. Gozie Ugwu, 6. Dominic Blizzard, 14. Sam Foley, 16. Nathan Ralph
9. James Hayter, 11. Reuben Reid.
Substitutes: 1. Marek Stech, 7. Keanu Marsh-Brown, 8. Ed Upson, 15. Lewis Young, 17. Rohan Ince, 20. Curtis Haynes-Brown.
Tonight's match though is all about Sam Foley's return to Newport County. Having spent three and a half years with the South Wales side, this is his first chance to say goodbye to their fans and the playing squad, having signed for the Glovers over the summer. He has told the South Wales Argus today that he didn't expect this situation to develop, but is relishing his return:
"I had absolutely no intention of going anywhere and I certainly didnít think at the end of the game at Wembley that it would be my last performance for County. I would have stayed on but there was a lot of interest from Yeovil and suddenly I was faced with the chance to move to a League One club. It was a great move for me, a chance to prove myself at that level.
"Not many players get to say a proper goodbye like I will and I am relishing it. Iíve got so many friends at the club and had such a great rapport with the fans. This game is an absolute bonus for me. As soon as it was announced I was buzzing and I am really hoping to get some game time."
Premier League side Southampton have transfer-listed three of their players, including former Yeovil Town loan signing Ryan Dickson. The 25 year old joins strikers Lee Barnard and Jonathan Forte who have been all told they can find new clubs.
All three are still under contract at St Mary's Stadium, and so will need to agree severance deals with the club, but the implication is that with the Saints having been promoted back to the top flight that they do not form part of their future plans. Boss Nigel Adkins has said told BBC Radio Solent that there is already interest in the players:
"It's fair to say that (they can leave). There has been interest in them because they are of good quality. We want to try and do it early enough for them and I know their agents have been working actively. They are fit but they need to play football as well so everyone is working very hard to create a win, win situation. There has been interest in them because they are of good quality and I would imagine as the month progresses something more concrete will materialise."
All three had played in Southampton's pre-season friendly against Sholing on Tuesday night, in what was meant to be an outing for their Under-21 side, and thus have been separated from the Saints first team squad already.
Glovers manager Gary Johnson did say earlier in the summer that he would be keen on the idea of signing Dickson, but doubted that he could afford his wages. With Jamie McAllister, Nathan Ralph and Curtis Haynes-Brown all able to play left-back and McAllister likely to take the captaincy for the 2012-13 season, this probably isn't a priority position for the Glovers to fill - and with a severance deal needed, may not come cheap. With Brentford stating they are aiming to sign a left-back within the next week, it's much more likely that Dickson would be looking for a return to his former club.
Yeovil Town play the second and last of their matches in South Wales tonight, when they make the trip to Rodney Parade, to take on Conference National side Newport County. As the seventh of a nine game pre-season friendly schedule, the club are now moving into the final couple of weeks before the season starts on August 14th, and this will be the final match on the road.
This will be third time a Glovers side have taken on a County first team side - with all three taking place at different grounds! Back in September 1988, the club's one and only competitive league match came at Somerton Park, just before the original Newport club went bankrupt. That 1-1 draw was later expunged from the seasonal records. Back in 2001, Gary Johnson took a pre-season side to Spytty Park - one of several venues the reformed club have used - with the Glovers coming out with a 3-2 win.
Newport now find themselves playing at Rodney Parade for this season - home of Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport Rugby Club. This is an 11,000 capacity stadium with just over 2,500 seats, and has staged full rugby union international matches in the past. This is a town centre ground, and is situated on the east side of the River Usk. If you're coming in via public transport, the railway station is on the opposite side of the river to the ground, but is easily walkable.
Assuming you're travelling from the East, take Junction 25a from the M4, then take the first exit off the motorway roundabout onto Heidenheim Drive (A4042). Go through a set of traffic lights and take the first exit off the flyover. Stay in the left-hand lane and take the second exit off the roundabout. At the next roundabout take the first exit across the River Usk, then at the next lights bear right onto Chepstow Road. Then take the first right onto Cedar Road, then the next right onto Corporation Road. Then take the first left onto Graffton Road and you'll find the ground on your left hand side.
Note that there is no spectator car park at the stadium, and most of the adjacent roads have a residents only parking scheme in place. So you either need to find street parking further away, or try one of the town's public car parks. The nearest car park is on Chepstow Road, but it's small and therefore may sell out on matchdays.
Admission prices are as follows:
Adults: £12.00; OAPs and Students: £10.00; Under-16s: £5.00.
As usual if you're going to tonight's game and want to write anything about it, or keep other supporters up to date with your views, drop us an email, or tweet us at @ytfcciderspace where matchday updates will be collated.
Yeovil Town's plans to build a Food Store at Huish Park appear to be under threat from expansion plans for the town's Quedam Shopping Centre. The freehold owners UBS Triton have written to South Somerset District Council, via their planning advisors Iceni Projects objecting to the club's supermarket plans on the basis that they have similar town centre proposals lined up.
UBS Triton have had long-standing plans to expand the current Quedam Centre lay-out and plan to use land surrounding Vincent's Car Centre in Market Street to expand the shopping centre into that area. In their letter to SSDC, UBS's objections - recorded in this week's Western Gazette - are largely in line with SSDC's planning department report on the application. However, the key problem for the football club is that UBS have their own plans for a supermarket within that expansion. Their letter states:
"UBS is presently formulating proposals for the (Vincent's Garage) site which would include an anchor food unit. The intention is to bring forward a detailed planning application as soon as possible, but in any event, within the next 12 months. The redevelopment of the Vincent's Garage site would incorporate structural and aesthetic changes to the Quedam Centre, and would conclusively read as an extension to the Centre."
The argument presented by UBS is that their site fits more rationally into the Government's National Planning Policy Framework, which requires local councils to perform a 'sequential test' which assesses the suitability of town centre locations for retail outlets ahead of out of town outlet. They claim that allowing the Huish Park proposals to proceed ahead of theirs would result in a "significant loss of investment (that) would undermine the performance of the Quedam centre and Yeovil town centre as a whole, and in turn, (affect) retailer and customer confidence."
Yeovil Town's planning advisors MWA have previously claimed that there are no suitable town centre locations for a supermarket within the town, and therefore that permission should be granted for an out of town store. At the time MWA's argument was that the Vincent's Garage site would not be available until 2016, and potentially required road junction improvements and compulsory purchase orders to be realised. The test of whether Vincent's Garage is a suitable location will therefore be a crucial one, regardless of whether UBS realise their overall plans.
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has confirmed that he still has room in his playing budget if he decides to take on Oxford City defender James Clarke. The 22 year old had been on trial at the club, playing in the opening pre-season friendly against Hereford United but did not appear in the four games that followed, due to an injury picked up after that match.
On Tuesday night, the former Oxford United trainee reappeared as a half time substitute against Llanelli and he is part of the squad who are spending the week in South Wales, suggesting that Johnson is quite keen on him. The Glovers boss has told this week's Western Gazette that this is certainly on his mind, although admits Clarke has a few other options as well:
"He was injured and he left us for a week to get rehabilitation and a bit of treatment. He has just come back in time for this tour so he joined us for the two games. We have got to see a little bit more of him. There are a lot of clubs interested in him at the moment but he would like to join us more than anybody else so we will have to wait and see."
Johnson had previously spoken of targeting a squad of eighteen players to start the season, and achieved that with the six month loan deals for Reading striker Gozie Ugwu and Chelsea midfielder Rohan Ince. However, since then Anthony Edgar has left the club, allowing the out of favour player to come off the club's wage bill. Hence, it could be that this has opened up enough money to make way for Clarke to come in.
The Glovers travel to Rodney Parade tomorrow in the last day of their stay in South Wales where they will take on Conference National side Newport County, with midfielder Sam Foley returning to his old club. They will take a check on Luke Ayling (foot) and Gavin Williams (calf) who missed Tuesday night's game at Llanelli, whilst Byron Webster (ribs) picked up a knock in that game. Today the team went white water rafting, as a team bonding exercise, perhaps taking their inspiration from the 2012 Olympics!
Yeovil Town's partnership with American Artificial Turf company Blue Sky International has unsurprisingly been killed off. After BSI had struck a deal with League Two side Port Vale, the Glovers announced a £1.25 million commercial deal with the firm last October that would give them a new artificial pitch, combined with ten years worth of pre-season tours to the USA and Caribbean.
All the warning signs were that this deal was on shaky ground, when BSI pulled out of their deal with the Valiants last December, establishing a chain of events that eventually saw them go into administration in March of this year.
Having kept silent on the issue for the last ten months, Yeovil Town have released a statement to this week's Western Gazette that confirms the deal is dead. However, they suggest that the problems are caused by the inability to find a suitable location for the artificial surface to reside:
"Yeovil Town FC and Blue Sky International have reached a mutual agreement to cancel the sponsorship agreement which provided for the installation of an artificial playing surface for use by the local community. Problems identifying and acquiring a suitable location for the surface and the lack of progress with the Huish Park site has led both parties to conclude the project cannot proceed at this time."
The inability to locate a plot of land for an artificial pitch to be implemented could be relevant to the club's Food Store application. Back in March, South Somerset District Council and Government body Sport England advised the club that they needed to provide replacement pitches as well as land that was accessible to the community. In the four months that has passed, no further application has been made by the club to cover this gap, and the above statement would suggest that the search for land has so far been unsuccessful.
League One side Tranmere Rovers have completed the signing of former Yeovil Town winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie. The 20 year old Sierra Leone player has signed a twelve month contract at Prenton Park, having featured in a series of pre-season friendlies on the Wirral.
Having played under Rovers boss Ronnie Moore during a loan spell at Rotherham United, the two parties are already familiar with each other. Moore told his club's website that he saw the former Reading trainee as a bit of a crowd-pleaser:
"Heís done well since he has been here, heís been lively and quick and he likes to take people on. Heís a very attacking player who will twist and turn and give defenders a headache and I think heíll be a real crowd favourite. Iím delighted he has agreed to join us."
During his time at Huish Park, Bell-Baggie failed to clock up a first team appearance, spending the first half of the 2011-12 season on the club's books. Since then he's been playing for Hayes and Yeading United and Salisbury City, but now gets an opportunity to work his way back into the Football League.
Yeovil Town have changed ticketing arrangements for next Tuesday evening's home pre-season friendly against Premier League side Stoke City. The original plan was to have all four sides of the ground open for this fixture. The Copse Road Away Terrace will now no longer be opened for the match, with all visiting supporters housed in the Screwfix (East) Stand.
The change to arrangements would suggest a lower than expected uptake on tickets for the game from Potters fans. The game is to take place on Tuesday 7th August at Huish Park, with a 7.45p.m. kick-off. For full ticketing prices on that and other fixtures, follow the links below.