First-year professional feeling the benefits...
FIRST-year professional, Liam Kinsella, is thoroughly enjoying his first pre-season tour.
The teenage midfielder, who was named as Apprentice of the Season last term, has been put through his paces during our time in Devon, but realises that it’s all part of the development process.
“It’s been hard work, but I was expecting that,” admitted the level-headed youngster. “I feel that I am adapting to it and am pleased with the progress that I have made in these opening weeks of pre-season.
“There have been some early morning starts with gym sessions before training, but it’s all beneficial to me and will help me get stronger.
“I have noticed the benefits already and feel ready for the busy schedule of pre-matches that lies ahead over the next few weeks.
“The aim for me is to work hard in training and establish myself for the reserves. If I can do that then hopefully I will start to push on for the first-team as the season goes on.”
There has been an excellent spirit in the camp during our stay in the south-west with Kinsella and fellow first-year professional, Amadou Bakayoko, being welcomed into the group with open arms.
“The lads are bonding really well and it’s brought us closer together, which is a good vibe to take into the season,” added Kinsella. “I’ve been made to feel really welcome by the rest of the lads and the more experienced players are always there to speak to if need be, so that’s made it easier to settle in.
“This trip has helped in so many different ways.”
Kinsella figured in Wednesday’s game at Taunton Town, taking a blow to the face with the very last kick of the game as he got in the way of Kieron Morris’ powerful strike.
“I caught it right on the nose,” he said with a wry smile. “There was certainly plenty of power in the strike and Kieron reckons it was going in!
“It knocked me off my feet and there was a bit of blood, but I’m fine now.
“It was a good experience for me to play against men and in front of fans. I really embraced it and adapted to the situation. Hopefully there will be more to come for me.
“As a team we played some decent football. We deserved to win as we created plenty of chances, but it just wasn’t to be in the end.
“It was a good run-out for us and allowed the Gaffer to try a few things and get game time into us all.
“There is no doubt that our fitness levels are high, we just need to get minutes on the pitch under our belts, which is what these friendly matches are all about.”