Boro in it for the long haul

Boro get set for trip to South Wales

GRAHAM Westley says tomorrow’s trip to Newport County will allow his players to re-acquaint themselves with the demands of travelling to away games before the start of the new season.

Westley took the unusual step of including the fixture in Boro’s pre-season schedule that will see them embark on a 320-mile round trip to South Wales.

However, he believes the long-haul journey will help the players get back into good habits before their first away trip on August 14 when Boro travel to Bradford City.

“It’s a good opportunity to travel a distance,” said Westley.

“I’ve slotted it into the schedule and people were looking at it and saying ‘what’s he done that for?’. I’ve found it pays to travel in pre-season because you forget so much when you haven’t travelled away from home in a while including timing your journey, organising your pre-match and everything that goes with a long away journey.

“It’s important to get one of them under our belts so we can at least practice getting back into the old routine and remember good habits and get the bad habits out of the system.”

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The game against last season’s Conference South champions will be Boro’s penultimate pre-season fixture before the opening day of the season and the Boro manager says he can’t wait for the real business to get started.

He said: “Pre-season does come to that point when you think, ‘god, are we still in pre-season, can’t we just get started’.

“Certainly, when you get to this stage you do want to get the real action underway and you feel as though the lads are getting towards fitness and you feel they’re ready to play games for real and we can’t wait to get ourselves going.”

Despite a number of players featuring more than others during pre-season matches, Westley says he still doesn’t know what starting XI he will pick come August 7 and admits it could take some time to find a settled team.

He added: “There’s some thinking to be done and some work to be done. We pick a side for every game and it’s not as if I’m going to find an XI and that’s going to stay my XI. I’m sure that in the first five or six games of the season you’ll see several different starting line-ups.”

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