01:00PM, Friday 09 August 2019
Marlow are ‘bang on track’ in their preparations for the new Isthiman League South Central campaign and manager Mark Bartley reckons he knows at least half his starting XI.
But a rare selection headache for a manager in Marlow’s league has emerged because the Blues have two ‘top-drawer’ keepers on their books now.
Bartley has brought back Simon Grant – who had hoped to secure a move to a higher level – but also signed Chris Rackley.
“Grant had a great season last year, wanted to test himself higher which I think he earned the right to do,” Bartley said.
“There’s not many keepers across the country that would have kept 20 clean sheets last year so he did that.
“We tried to help him facilitate a move which looked like everything was going according to plan and at the last minute as sometimes can happen with moves from one club to another there was a bit of a hiccup, so that ended up not happening for whatever reason.
“Rackley is a top drawer keeper. I know him, I know his quality anybody that’s watched him during preseason will know exactly why I’ve brought him in.”
“They’re both up for the fight and I think that’s a great position to be in.
“Ultimately it bodes well for us as a club to have two top drawer keepers available for selection.
“It’s a really tough position to be in, it’s a tough call, you have to make these tough decisions when you’re a manager.”
Pre-season continues for the Blues on Saturday with their final friendly taking place against Winchester before the league campaign starts at home to Barking on Saturday, August 17.
“We’re bang on track, we’re building towards attempting to peak for the 17th and certainly it feels as though the players have gathered in their match fitness and we feel like we’re in a decent state at the moment,” Bartley said.
They hammered Basingstoke Town 5-0 in their friendly on August 3.
They ‘will have similar aspirations for us which is to try get out their league and they are in the same step as us so to beat them 5-0 was particularly pleasing’, Bartley said, adding that his players put in a good ‘all-round performance’.
“There are a few people that have showed up really well so, barring injury or a horror showing in the last friendly on Saturday, I think probably eight or so of the team I’ve kind of got in my head and then there are a few places I’m still undecided as to how we’ll go,” Bartley added.
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