Ahead of this weekend’s season opener at Hemel Hempstead FC, Yeovil Town captain Josh Staunton told the local media that the dressing room at Huish Park is a good place to be.

Towards the end of last season, Staunton was front and centre as the player in front of the cameras who took responsibility and with the addition of experienced characters over the summer, the skipper said the characters are there to deal with pressure.

He said: “It has been a good dressing room. There is some good characters in there, the likes of Frank (Nouble) and Murph (Rhys Murphy) in there, which is good because you can delegate rather than trying to do everything yourself. If you ask them to look after something, it is done. It is a good place to be and we need the kind of characters who stand up and take the pressure.

“We have tried not to talk about last season, but the type of people we have kept they feel they owe the club something and that would have weighed on their decision to stay. They feel the club is due some success and it will be nice to be a part of it, I am sure they will be running an extra 10%.”

Rhys Murphy with Frank Nouble.
Picture courtesy of Iain Morland.

Saturday’s opponents are one of the National League South’s clubs with an artificial pitch which will see the skipper take to the touch line. Expanding on his coaching role Staunton said: “The gaffer has taken me on to earn my stripes in the coaching world and I have the opportunity where I can focus on other aspects of the game and I am enjoying working with the manager.

“It takes a bit of pressure off when you are not playing games and feel like you are not really adding anything because it gives you the opportunity to still be with the boys and make a difference.”

“When you have a knee with not much padding around the bone it is just smashing bone on bone which makes it very unforgiving”

The skipper also talked about his knee injury and the reasoning behind his absence from those games, saying his knee “feels really good.”

“If you play on a grass pitch, 50% of the force goes in to the ground, but on 3G pitch 90% comes back up through your leg. So when you have a knee with not much padding around the bone it is just smashing bone on bone which makes it very unforgiving. They are very unforgiving surfaces generally, so I had to make a decision to miss one to get available for seven.”

During pre-season the Glovers have scored plenty of goals and Staunton said the face that there is that firepower within the squad relieves some of the pressure on a defence that was bombarded last season. The skipper admitted there’d been some sloppy goals conceded but hopes supporters would forgive these if the ball was going in the net at the other end.

Assistant manager Chris Todd and captain Josh Staunton.
Picture courtesy of Iain Morland.

“It is nice to have the feeling we can outscore someone because that has been missing for the last couple of years.”

“There has been times we have conceded sloppy goals in pre-season and last year they would have resulted in losses whereas when we are scoring at the other end, it relieves some pressure. It does not give us the excuse to make mistakes, but it makes it a lot more fun not to be defending for 90 minutes so hopefully we will carry that in to the start of the season.

“If you are going to play expansive football, something has to give. Every now and then mistakes happen, but we have the mentality now where we may concede one but we back ourselves to outscore the opposition whereas at the end of last season that was not the case. People will forgive us one or two sloppy goals if we are scoring four or five at the other end.”

“When you look back at pre-season last season and it was evident that goals were going to be difficult to come by but if you look at the parallel fixtures we had this season – last year at Dorchester we huffed and puffed to a 0-0 and this year we hammered them 5-0.

“It is nice to have the feeling we can outscore someone because that has been missing for the last couple of years. This year we can influence games at the other end of the pitch better and that creates a bit more optimism.”

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