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8 August 2013

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Manager admits he knows his team

Town boss John Still revealed he knows his starting XI for Saturday’s Skrill Premier opening fixture against Southport on Saturday.

The Hatters go into the game with Alan Wright’s Sandgrounders with the manager fully prepared for the seasonal opener.

“If everyone comes through training today okay, and if everyone comes through training on Friday okay then I know my team,” Still said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

The Town won eight of their 10 pre-season friendlies this summer but while Still knows those results count for nothing, he believes his team is ready.

“We’ve had a good pre-season,” said the manager. “In the big scheme of things the results do not matter. 

“The three important things we wanted were: 1. To get everyone fit. 2. Get everyone organised and 3. To get the team spirit right – and I think we’ve achieved that.

“We’ve played quite well in games but that isn’t the most important thing – those three are. I’m happy with what I’ve seen and I’m happy with the quality of players I have.”

Despite their positive record in pre-season fixtures, Still warned that Saturday’s game will be one of the toughest of the season.

“At this stage of the season you don’t know everything about the team you’re playing,” said the manager. “We’ve had them watched but all teams this early on are dangerous opponents.

“It’s a new season, with new hope and expectation and, in Southport’s case, a new manager. All those things make opponents very dangerous. However, the way I look at it is to just focus it being one game and not look at the name of the opposition.”

Preparation is key for Still and the manager hopes that his plans – which started on appointment last season – can pay off this term and beyond.

“I think last season was really valuable to assess what we had,” he said. “Had we not had that we might be in a slightly different place right now.

“What’s important, for me, is that I like to try and build something. I don’t like taking short cuts. I understand everyone’s want for promotion. I’m in that mode too, I want promotion. But as well as that I want to maintain that level of performance and growth and progress – starting this season.”

Still confirmed that midfielder Alex Lawless has returned to full training this week whilst striker Alex Wall is doubtful after sustaining a knock in Monday’s 4-2 friendly victory over Thurrock.

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