BRENDAN Kelly has urged his Bromsgrove Sporting troops to go full throttle in their “second pre-season” – starting with tonight’s opening fixture of the Red Recruitment Trophy against local rivals Redditch United.
The inaugural match of the newly-announced tournament, acting as a pacifier for participants Alvechurch, Worcester Raiders, Redditch and Sporting with their respective league campaigns curtailed by current coronavirus tier restrictions in place, will kick off a run of festive football between now and New Years Day.
For Sporting fans, players and coaches alike, the announcement of the tournament last week came as music to Rouslers ears, and Bromsgrove manager Kelly was no exception.
“Redditch at home in the first of our six matches over the festive period, unless things change with the Government’s update on Wednesday, means local bragging rights are at stake,” he said.
“I guess you could almost call it a second pre-season, as we live in hope of a restart to competitive games.
“At this moment, my only concern is Sporting. We have been training hard remotely and we are all focused on getting back to winning ways.”
During the downtime experienced since the beginning of November, Sporting have been busy off the field bringing in a couple of new faces, Lee Chilton and – the most recent of those arrivals – Brad Birch, who arrived from Stourbridge on Sunday.
The 30-year-old midfielder, described as a “big character” by his new manager, appears set to play a leading role for the side in the coming weeks, with Kelly hinting at further additions yet to come.
“Brad is the perfect type of character we need at the club at this moment in time,” the Bromsgrove manager added.
“He has lots of ability and will add plenty of steel to the middle of the pitch, where he can score goals from too.
“With him and Lee signing, it adds much-needed competition to the squad.
“They’ve come in, and I hope to sign another couple of players too.
“Inevitably players will also leave our club, however, that’s football – it happens.
“Everyone is available for Redditch except Nathan Hayward, who is awaiting a scan.”
With all systems set to go at the Victoria Ground for tonight’s 7.30pm kick-off, where a limited crowd of 600 will be in attendance, both Kelly and chairman Mike Burke will have all sights on securing mid-season silverware.
“What’s done is done, and we have a fresh canvas to paint,” Kelly continued.
“We aim to get back to winning ways and perform better for the Sporting faithful, so we’ll see you all under the lights at our beloved VG.”
Burke added: “We wanted to be part of this new initiative, but by playing the matches, we will have to take the players off furlough.
“Although it’s usual for players not to get paid for friendlies, we felt that it is only right that players get paid. The matches are going to be more competitive and exciting than the average friendly, with a trophy and bragging rights at stake.
“With our income being restricted, we really appreciate the support and understanding that the fans are giving us through these difficult times – in return let’s go all out to win this trophy.”