PURTON boss Chris Pethick says the club has only organised four friendlies this season as a deliberate ploy to avoid injuries.
The Red House side had to cope with prolonged absences for key players in the last campaign, a problem that reared its head in pre-season and never went away.
With games against Longlevens and Devizes to come, Pethick feels a thin set of warm-up fixtures is the best way for his side to be.
“Part of the reason we’ve only got four friendlies arranged is because we picked up all our bad injuries during friendlies last year and it cost us big time,” he said.
“We’re placing more emphasis on training and less on friendlies this year so we can control it.
“We’re still paying the price for last year because we’ve still got Nick McRae injured. He was out for the whole season and we were hoping he was going to be back for the beginning of this season, but it looks like he’s not going to be and he looks quite a few months off as well.”
Pethick has only recently returned from a holiday in the United States and quickly set about putting together his squad for the new campaign.
The likes of Marcus Hall and Ryan Child have returned for 2013/14 while keeper Gary Stevens has joined from Radstock and forward Aaron Webb has come in from Cricklade reserves.
“We’ve got quite a few signed on, most of the players who finished last year and one or two new additions,” said Pethick.
“I’m excited about the new goalkeeper we’ve got this season. He looks like a very good addition and I’m really pleased to have got him signed on.
“Aaron Webb has looked good in training and I’m hoping to sign another couple that will strengthen us up.”
Also in action tonight are Supermarine, who meet New College at the Webb’s Wood Stadium.
Shrivenham welcome Clanfield to Barrington Park while Fairford take on Swindon Town Under 18s at Cinder Lane.
Beversbrook thrashed Wiltshire Premier outfit Blyskawica 5-0 in a recent friendly.
Lee Ashby’s side - which contains a number of Swindon-based players - also beat Faringdon Town of the North Berks League 3-2 on Saturday.