HUGHES | "It’s going to be a real tough test for us"

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Tue 16 Jul 2019

Manager Bryan Hughes is relishing another tough pre-season test as his new players prepare to run out at the Racecourse for the first time against Stoke.

The Potters travel to North Wales for the Dragons’ fifth friendly of a busy summer on Wednesday (July 17), with their first-team stars expected to feature.

And Hughes is well aware of the test they will pose – calling on his players to continue to apply everything they have worked on off the pitch so far.

“It’s going to be a real tough test for us,” the manager said. “They’ve got quality running right the way through their team.

“It’s just another building process for us in our pre-season preparations and it should be, hopefully, an entertaining game for our fans.

“Playing against a Primeira Liga team in Portugal, it was always going to be a tough test against that type of opposition and it will be no different on Wednesday against Stoke City.

“They’re bringing their first team over and that team is littered with Premier League players. Stoke were a Premier League club not so long ago so it’s going to be a real tough test – no danger of that.

“What I’m looking for from my team is to try and build on what we’re trying to do – different patterns of play that we’ve been working on in a different system – and hopefully get stronger at that.”

Having first trialled the new 3-4-3 formation in Portugal, during the narrow 1-0 defeat to Portimonense, Hughes gave the new system a run out for the 2-0 win at Telford.

And, while he is keen to keep his tactical options open for the new season, he is pleased to have seen his players face two very different tactical tests last week.

“It’s not necessarily the formation we will go into the season playing,” Hughes reiterated. “It’s just a formation that our personnel suits.

“Obviously in Portugal, Portimonense played a lot of the game in front of us so it was good to test our defensive discipline and get our [shape and] distances right.

“Against Telford, it was a bit different. They tried to turn us. The two games gave us different problems, and that will be what happens in the National League too – some teams will play in front of us, some will look to go beyond us.

“If we can adapt that system then at least we’ve got a bit of know-how about how to deal with two different types of teams.

“We’ve been really successful in our 4-3-3 formation last season – we were close last season – and that’s not to say I won’t play 4-3-3 this season.

“There’s not much change between the two systems and I just think it’s about being able to flip it at whatever stage if we need to.”

Hughes also discussed transfers, with trialist Jazzi Barnum-Bobb still with the club, having played against Cefn Druids, Fleetwood Town and AFC Telford United so far.

And the manager admitted the right-back has impressed so far – while also revealing further transfer news could unfold this week.

“Jazzi did really well again on Saturday,” Hughes said. “He’s really impressed me and the coaching staff.

“He gets on really well with the players so he’s got himself into that environment which is big for me. Jazzi’s ticking a lot of boxes at the moment.

“He’s in again this week and he’s doing everything right from his side of things. He’s a good professional. His fitness levels are great to get up and down on that right hand side and he’s a good defender as well.

“I’m hopeful something might happen in the next few days regarding another player coming in.

“I’m really happy with the squad we’ve integrated this summer. We’ve identified areas of the pitch that need strengthening and I’d like to think we’ve brought players in who could take the club to the next level. It gives us a variety of personnel who can really affect games.”

The match against Stoke City kicks off at 7pm at the Racecourse. There are no advance ticket sales, with Wrexham fans able to pay at the turnstiles for the Hays Travel Stand or bkoncepts Stand Paddock. Away fans will be housed in the University Stand. For more information, see our match-day guide.

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