Griffin's brace gives boss Hughesy cause for optimism
Storey courtesy of Danny Hall - Wilts and Glos Standard
CHARLIE GRIFFIN showed why he could prove Cirencester Town’s key signing of the summer when scoring twice in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Corinium Stadium on Tuesday night.
Manager Brian Hughes, mindful of the fact that the Southern Premier season is little more than a fortnight away, arranged a 90-minute workout with North Leigh of the Southern League Div One South & West.
Town won 2-1, both goals coming from the prolific hit man Griffin – his first goals of pre-season. The first was a neat back post header and the second a tidy finish from 12 yards after a decent move. The void left by last season's leading scorer Nat Jarvis is beginning to fill.
“I have high hopes for Charlie, Aidan (Bennett), Josh (Parsons) and Ross (Langworthy) going forward,” said Hughes. "Charlie conducts himself like a pro; he has a great attitude and is still humble. “We thought that a 3 x30-minute practice match with North Leigh would be more beneficial than a normal training session or a first team versus development side game.
"We played Cheltenham Town and Bristol Rovers too early in our pre-season campaign really, but you can't dictate to bigger clubs when they will come. “We saw a lot more of the ball on Saturday at Slimbridge and it was good to keep a clean sheet there and for Ross to get his first goal."
Hughes is relieved that midfielder Ben Wells, who played only bit parts last season after his serious knee operation, has not been tempted by a lucrative offer to switch to Chippenham Town. By his own admission, Wells is at least a stone over his best fighting weight and got through a busy 75 minutes against North Leigh.
“I didn’t want to lose Matt Liddiard to Gloucester City and I certainly didn’t want to lose Wellsy, who I see filling Lidds’ shoes,” said Hughes. “Wellsy is probably one of my top five signings in the 11 years I have been at the club. He’s been through the trauma of a massive cruciate rebuild which is very difficult both mentally and physically for a part-time, non-league player.”
Hughes sends two separate teams to Longlevens and Tuffley Rovers on Saturday, a week before the key game of Town's pre-season schedule when they host Ady Pennock’s Forest Green Rovers on August 1.
“August 8, the opening day of the season, is creeping up on us and the Forest Green
game is very important," said Hughes, who has not looked much further that the visit to Redditch Utd – a team Town beat home and away last season – on day one.
Though he did admit to rolling his eyes heavenward when noting the Boxing Day fixture – a long journey to the plastic pitch of Merthyr Town.