02:30PM, Thursday 03 June 2021
Jon Underwood accepts there’s ‘no perfect science’ or right or wrong way to approach the new season, but says he and Neil Baker are trying to make the best plans they can in unusual circumstances.
The Rebels squad won’t take another break now before the season begins and 10 pre-season friendlies have been lined up, more than ever before. They have taken part in light, informal training sessions for the past couple of weeks and will gradually build things up until the start of July, when a more normal routine of training and friendly matches will resume.
They’ll kick off those warm-up matches away to Badshot Lea on Saturday, July 3 and intend to round things off with a couple of matches with National League opposition at Arbour Park.
“With this type of thing it’s difficult to know what’s right and what’s wrong,” he said. “We’ve not been here before and we’ve not had an 18 months like this before.
“Hungerford played something like 13/14 friendlies last summer and we thought that looked very heavy at the time, but they went on to have a very good start to the season.
“So, there’s no right or wrong, sometimes in unusual circumstances you just have to make the best plans you can. We normally have seven or eight friendlies but this time we’ve gone for 10 because we feel we need a few extra because of the lack of game time people have had. We feel this is the right way to go but other teams are doing it differently.
“We’re judged on results so whoever has the best season, people will say they got it right, but it’s not a perfect science.”
Underwood added: “When we come to twice a week which is mid-June that’s when we’ll see our pre-season properly starting and I’d like to think we’ll have our squad in place by then.
“We’ve tried to get a real mixture of local sides, u23s pro sides and we’re hopeful of getting two National League sides who will come to us. We’ve got one arranged, but they’re not ready to announce their schedule. We have a varied schedule and we try not to play the same teams every year. We try to mix it up a little bit. We’ve got a good balance.
“We’ve got a couple of dates to fill but we’re looking forward to those.”
Slough also confirmed last week that striker Dan Roberts would be leaving the club this summer to join another club in the National League South.
Roberts scored 13 goals in 58 appearances for the Rebels after signing from Windsor, including a fine hat-trick away at Dorking Wanderers.
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.