Chris Hargreaves

Tom Knowles wanted to leave Yeovil Town when League Two Walsall came in for him on the eve of the new season, according to Glovers’ boss Chris Hargreaves.

The forward scored ten times in 46 appearances for the Glovers last season and that form caught the eye of the Saddlers – perhaps when they came to check out their own loanee midfielder Sam Perry during pre-season.

Asked about the decision to sell one of his main assets just 48 hours before the opening day trip to Scunthorpe United, Hargreaves told BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins the situation was “not ideal.”

Chris Hargreaves talks to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins ahead of the 2-1 defeat at Scunthorpe United.

He added: “I have only got good things to say about (Tom), he was brilliant with me and always gave it everything, I didn’t want to lose him and the football club didn’t but an amount of money was offered and the player wanted to go.

You have to let it be about the player’s decision because you don’t want an unhappy player. I’m not saying he would have been but sometimes things are out of my hands and all I can focus on now is the players I have got.

They are the ones who are working hard to get in to the team and now I have to work on finding that person who replaces Tom and can be our match-winner and talisman who can turn something in to nothing in the final third.”

Asked whether he had been made any assurances that the funds from the transfer would be available to strengthen the squad, the manager said chairman Scott Priestnall had “made it clear” he would be supported.

Hargreaves added: “The likelihood of Tom going at the end of the season was high, so a decision had to be made at some point. As manager I can only focus on what is in front of me, I didn’t want him to go but we have got to move on, we wish him all the best and we have to focus on what we have now.

Following the departure of Knowles, Hargreaves brought in 19-year-old Matt Grivosti on a youth loan from Bolton Wanderers. The length of the loan was not disclosed.

Grivosti joins goalkeeper Will Buse (Bristol City), defender Finley Craske (Plymouth Argyle) and midfielders Sam Perry (Walsall) and Sam Pearson (Bristol City) who make up the other four loanees at Huish Park.

In terms of permanent arrivals, strikers Alex Fisher and Malachi Linton and full-back Jamie Reckord have joined in the summer having been released by Newport County, Wycombe Wanderers and Boreham Wood respectively.

Chris Hargreaves’ first match as manager ended in defeat at Scunthorpe this evening and he was disappointed with the result but praised the bravery of his players – and reiterated the need for additions.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sheridan Robins, the manager said: “[I’m] disappointed, so are the lads, bitterly disappointed. I think we did enough. We changed the shape, maybe we were a little bit on the backfoot [in the] first half, just too protective. A lot of lads probably just on a fine line between being able to play or not. They did well to even be on the pitch a couple of them.”

The Glovers went 2-0 down before Jamie Reckord scored a consolation and they certainly created chances to find an equaliser. Hargreaves thought once his side were calmer, they improved.

“It was an okay performance, once we go the belief and once we were calmer on the ball and switched play and did what we’ve done in a lot of the pre season training sessions and games. We looked excellent, we looked a threat, we looked like we had width, we looked like we were going to score a second goal.

“I’m baffled as to why we couldn’t get on the end of one of the crosses, numerous corners, chances. It was front-foot football and I always reference the fans at the end of a game cos they usually tell you what they done and I have to thank them for their support today, they were absolutely brilliant.”

Jacob Butterfield’s second half strike was one that the defence will not want to watch back, and the manager admitted it was a poor goal to concede.

“I think the second goal was a killer, really, because of the backing off. We lost the ball when we probably think we’re in good possession. We’ve still got to react, we’ve still got to get back in numbers and some point someone’s got to transition to go and press and try and affect the ball and we didn’t, so that was really poor from us,” he said.

Following the departure of Tom Knowles on Thursday, there is a clear need for additions in the squad and Hargreaves is determined to add.

He said: “I’m still going to be on the phone all next week, because we want to add to what we’ve got, we’ve got to add to the quality we have, we just need a little bit more to be able to go into a full season with a squad of real depth.”

When asked by our very own Ben Barrett about if he was looking to add experience to his squad, Hargreaves said: “Experience costs a lot of money, in the main, and we have to cut our cloth to our own club and our own finances. And, I maintain that we cant be frivolous because you can’t exist as a football club because someone’s got to put the money in and it’s a lot of money to run a football club. I would love millions of pounds, everybody would. But, the reality is, we want to be competitive with what we have, and we were today.

“So we’ve got to get that recruitment right and try and get the players in. And I can assure you that 24/7 for the last six weeks I have tried to do that. Its fallen through a couple of times at the last minute which is disappointing, which happens, but lets hope it doesn’t fall through next week,” he added.

  • One notable absentee was Lawson D’Ath, who has had a reoccurrence of a previous injury. Hargreaves said he was hoping to get Lawson back training more intensely towards the end of next week.

Charlie Wakefield will still be an attacking threat for Yeovil Town this season whatever position he is playing in, according to manager Chris Hargreaves.

The winger, who played down the flanks and as a centre forward at times last season, has been used predominantly as a wing back in pre-season.

Charlie Wakefield. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

But, speaking ahead of the opening National League match against Scunthorpe United, Hargreaves said the former Chelsea youngster had displayed an ability to perform in a number of positions.

He said: “He is still going to play in those further forwards and we have reverted to some systems in pre-season, the behind-closed-doors game (against Sherborne Town), in training games and we have worked on different systems.

We are trying to get a group of players on the pitch that are adaptable. Charlie sees himself as an attacking player and he will be whether it is at wing-back, right wing or centre forward, he can play all three of them.

What I have been pleased and impressed with is that he wants to play in all those positions and do well in them which will only benefit him, if he wants to play at a higher level, if he nails those positions you are a much more attractive position for any of those clubs.”

There was no confirmation from the manager that Bristol City goalkeeper Will Buse would be joining on loan despite rumours coming out of Ashton Gate.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Yeovil, was strongly linked with a move to Huish Park after he was recalled from a spell at Taunton Town and despite first-choice Grant Smith and back-up keeper Max Evans already being on the books.

Asked about a move for a keeper by BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins, the manager said: “There are lots of rumours, I can’t comment on them but it’s a fast-moving sport and there might be a couple of other conversations being had before the weekend.

“We need to focus on getting better, creating that bond between the group, I think there’s a long way to go and a lot of work to do.

“We are not naïve to think we have it right so far, we need to keep recruiting well in a competitive market.”

Youngsters Toby Stephens and Ollie Haste are both on loan at Southern League Premier Division South side Truro City.

Toby Stephens

Stephens was spotted turning out for the Cornish side, who are managed by ex-Glovers’ midfielder Paul Wotton, in a pre-season friendly against Torquay United last weekend.

Hargreaves said he hoped the pair would benefit from playing “at least a month of competitive football” for the White Tigers.

He said: “I have worked in under-23 set ups at different clubs and you can be a ‘lost group’ where you get to 23 or 24 years old and you have not made any league appearances at any level.

We want them to play men’s football where it means a lot on a Saturday afternoon.

“They were very close to staying around it with us but I feel for them that they need that month at least of competitive football.

I have spoken to Paul Wotton who has been delighted with them in training sessions, so it’s about them making an impression and that is what they are determined to do.

Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has said he will be looking to add more attacking options to his squad up until he steps on to the coach to travel to Scunthorpe United on Friday.

The Glovers’ boss admitted it had “not quite clicked” for some of the club’s forward players during a pre-season which saw them score six goals in six friendlies – albeit four of them came in the behind-closed-doors game against Western League Premier Division Sherborne Town.

Chris Hargreaves talking to the media ahead of the trip to Scunthorpe United.

He added that he was looking for further “depth” in attacking positions suggesting that he sees strikers Malachi Linton and Alex Fisher as his first-choice pairing with any new arrivals being a back up alongside the likes of Ollie Hulbert.

The manager was speaking on Thursday afternoon before the announcement that Tom Knowles had been sold to League Two side Walsall for an “undisclosed fee”, read more on that – here.

Hargreaves said: “We are looking at depth really. The players we have got in are good players who offer different attributes, but we have got to add to it because we don’t want to be short.

That’s what we are trying to do and it will continue up until I get on that coach (to Scunthorpe on Friday) and it will continue once we arrive back, but once we are on the coach we have to focus on what we have got and how we can effect the game.

We will still be looking, but it is to add to the lads we already have, it is not instead of.

Given when Knowles was announced by his new employers, there were posts of him wearing a Walsall shirt suggests the deal was signed, sealed and delivered (albeit not announced) when Hargreaves spoke to the media – which would suggest the “undisclosed fee” (is there ever any kind where Yeovil Town are concerned?) is not planned to be ploughed back in to attacking talent.

Hargreaves confirmed that Norwegian frontman Stanley Anaebonam, who was with League of Ireland side Shelbourne last season, was still someone being looked at but admitted that he could not have too many “projects.”

Stanley Anaebonam, ahead of the draw with Exeter City earlier in pre-season.

The 23-year-old has featured as a substitute in a number of the club’s pre-season friendlies most recently in the 1-0 win at Weston-super-Mare last weekend when he appeared alongside versatile Finley Craske, who signed on loan from Plymouth Argyle in the week.

Hargreaves said: “We have had a look at some trialists, Stanley being one of them. Some we haven’t committed to and some we have said we will monitor. It’s shown us how hungry some lads are for an opportunity, but there are only so many places and we have to strike a balance with ‘projects’ because we need some experience.

That is at the moment where my mind is. We have Alex Fisher who is vastly experienced and has shown a massive appetite to play for this club, but we need a little bit more of his ilk.

It may take another week or another couple of weeks, it sometimes doesn’t happen overnight but one thing is for certain, the boys that step on that coach to Scunthorpe on Friday I am very happy with.

There are lads chomping at the bit. There’s only so many places on that bench, so I am not too worried about having a huge squad because we can’t get them all in, but we are looking for a little bit more experience.


Chris Hargreaves talks to the club’s YouTube channel.

Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has said he’s been pleased with the side’s pre-season preparation after signing off the friendly schedule with a 1-0 win over Weston Supert Mare. Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins after the game, he spoke of how he was happy with the tests the side had come up against.

“A lot of the teams we’ve played, we’ve done it on purpose because we wanted them to be a test. We played Sherborne and scored a fair few goals in that game, and the games we’ve had have been League One, teams that have been promoted and teams that have recruited a lot of good players”

“That’s what we wanted, we wanted a decent test as a last game and it was. We came out relatively unscathed, a few little injury worries but we’ve worked them hard this last week and I wanted that”

“In the main, application spot on”

Hargreaves spoke of his delight at Alex Fisher getting on the scoresheet his second ‘first’ goal in Green and White after signing on for another spell at Huish Park

“He’s a fantastic lad,really good for the changing room, I’m pleased he’s got on scoresheet so that’s a positive”

There was still an admittance that there’s a bit more to do, with goals at a premium during pre-season, a desire for his side to me more ruthless still exists.

“During that first 15-20 minutes, when we are having a lot of the ball, you have got to score again and it dampens the spirit of the opposition and we didn’t do that, so that’s something to focus on, when you’re in the ascendency, you’ve gotta take your chances.”

“We’ve had chances, don’t get me wrong and as a striker you want to score, but… save it to the first game”

That first game comes up against Scunthorpe, live on BT Sport (and BBC Somerset *ahem*) on Saturday 6th August (5:20pm)

Hargreaves was hoping that a couple more bodies will be availble sooner rather than later.

“I am hoping, I am. Just to add more quality to the group, that’s all we’re trying to do… so are all the other manager’s in the league. We are close, we just need a couple more.”

Glovers’ boss Chris Hargreaves

Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has called for more belief in front of goal as the Glovers played out a 0-0 draw with Dorchester Town.

Speaking after the final whistle, he told YTFC.NET he saw plenty of positives, but wanted to see more from his attackers.

You’ve got to score when you’re on top, in any game, whether it’s National League, Football League or against Dorchester tonight. We didn’t quite have that killer instinct.”

“First half was positive, second half we made lots of changes, rested people and it become scrappy.”

“I’m not concerned about the second half as much, but if we take our chances in the first half it becomes a different game.”

Hargreaves said he was happy with the fitness levels and the return of Lawson D’Ath in the side returning under ‘managed minutes’ with the first game against Scunthorpe in mind.

However, he wanted to see more ‘belief’ going forward.

Negatives are, just a bit more belief for our attacking players in that final third to be a bit more selfish, the boys are working their socks off”

The gaffer confirmed that he made changes to ‘protect’ a few of his smaller squad and that Tom Knowles and Chiori Johnson were missing with slight ‘tweaks’.

The gaffer said they’d be working on ‘polishing off in the final third’ with the final friendly at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday working towards players keeping their place for the first League game.

You’ve got to believe it when you’re running near post, you’ve gotta believe it when you’ve left a man and strike across the keeper and if we had of done that it might have been a very different game”.

He also confirmed, with a wry smile, that he was trying to add to the group before the start of the season too.

Chris Hargreaves admitted his Yeovil Town were “not quite enough” as they went down 2-0 to League One side Plymouth Argyle in the final home friendly of their pre-season campaign.

The home side were forced on the defensive for the majority of the game as the Pilgrims enjoyed the bulk of possession limiting the Glovers to a handful of opportunities the best of which fell to substitue Ollie Hulbert in the second half.

Speaking to the club’s YouTube channel after the game, the manager said: “We looked good defensively with a good structure, I was disappointed in the goals but it was a big lesson in keeping the ball today.

It’s something we have been working on because when you are playing against better sides, you need that.

But the final third wasn’t quite enough and we are also working on our creativity, trying to get our wing backs higher, trying to be more of a threat.

Starting with what appears to be his favoured 5-2-3 formation, Hargreaves stuck with the same XI which earned a 1-1 draw with Exeter City last weekend with striker Malachi Linton and Alex Fisher supported by Tom Knowles.

In the second half, he threw on Hulbert and trialist Stanley Anaebonam, who made his second appearance having featured seven days earlier, but none of his forwards really troubled the Pilgrims’ goal.

The boss added: “It can be frustrating when the opposition have that much possession but today was a lesson in discipline and when you get the ball in the final third, taking an extra breathe to make sure you have your composure to hurt the opposition.

We had chances at the end, a few crosses flashed across and we had a chance with Ollie Hulbert which maybe on another day goes in the net and it becomes closed.

But, in the main, I am delighted with the application of the boys.”

The game was marred by a double dismissal for Glovers’ midfielder Matt Worthington and Plymouth wing-back Bali Mumba after 69th minute.

Hargreaves admitted his player needed to learn from the red card: “Both players have to learn from that, it is a local rivalry and tensions are high but you just have to keep your composure.

From our side we have to keep our composure because we won’t want to lose players early in the season.

Matty has been excellent, he is up for the fight, but it’s just a case of reining it in when you need to.

He added that playmaker Lawson D’Ath, who is yet to featured in any of the four pre-season fixtures so far, was “maybe a week” from being ready to play again.

That would put him in the frame for next weekend’s trip to Weston-super-Mare AFC next Saturday.

Hargreaves said: “He will think he is closer, but I just don’t want him to break down again because it is so important to get fitness in before the (league) games start.”

The next friendly fixture see Yeovil make the short journey south to Dorchester Town on Tuesday night.

The Magpies ran out 3-1 winners in a home fixture against Wessex League Premier side Hamworthy United today.

The Glovers’ boss said: “It is going to be a test (against Dorchester) because they have used a lot of energy up today, but that is what happens in the normal season.

They would often have to come back from a long game and then having to prepare for another game on the Tuesday.

It is a different focus for us on Tuesday, a different surface and we have to make sure the players recover properly because they have put an absolute shift in today.”

Chris Hargreaves said he was pleased with the fitness level and mentality of his Yeovil Town side following the 1-1 draw with League One newcomers Exeter City at Huish Park today.

A Tom Knowles goal gave the Glovers the lead before they were pegged back by a Matt Jay goal shortly before half-time with the second half seeing a flurry of changes on a very hot day in Somerset.

Speaking after the game, the manager said: “I was really pleased, we were resilient, looked a threat at times and were in the mindset of working their socks off all day.

We are a fit bunch of players and even in the second half when we were making changes and putting out a team of young boys and trialists, they bought in to it with the mentality we have and the fitness levels.

There is lots to work on, we could keep the ball better at times, but (new signing, striker) Alex (Fisher) has added a different dimension because you have a focal point which you can look to at times.

But the main thing today was the fitness levels and attitude which was spot on.

The boss said he expects his side to play “percentage football” when the National League season kicks off in three weeks time.

He told the Gloverscast‘s Ian Perkins: “I don’t think we can be obsessed with the way we are playing, we want to play the right way but in this league we have to play percentage football.

We’ve also got to add to the squad, so we can only do what we can do at the moment is how I would summarise it.

We are trying to work on a couple of things to give us a couple of options in the way we play and I was pleased with some of it.

Against a good opposition (in Exeter), you are not going to dominate the ball, so to have that type of resilience was good.

What I would like to see in more games is more play in the final third, more shots on goal and more crosses, but that is difficult against a good side.

Hargreaves is still looking to add more to the squad with four more trialists getting an outing against the Grecians.

Ex-Torquay United full-back Chiori Johnson played 70 minutes in his second appearance having played in the midweek draw at Taunton Town, and forwards Pierre Fonkeu and Stanley Anaebonam also appeared after the break.

Fonkeu appeared against Taunton and was most recently with National League South side Hemel Hempstead and had a spell at W*ymouth (which we’ll not talk about),whilst Norwegian Anaebonam most recently played in the Irish League with Shelbourne.

The manager said: “We still have a couple of add and we are working hard to do that at the moment, but on today’s evidence the application was evident.”

New signing striker Alex Fisher played 75 minutes against one of his former clubs and impressed his manager.

Alex Fisher in action against Exeter in his last spell at Huish Park in 2018. Pictures courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The boss said: “Alex wants to be here and that is something I have maintained with the lads we have talked to, they have different reasons for being here.

The captain, Josh Staunton, wants to leave a legacy of his time at the club which is great because you can go back to the era you are at with Yeovil and you are well thought of.

It’s the same for Fish, he wants to play a certain amount of games and score a certain amount of goals for the club. (Let’s hope that means ‘lots’)

I love that because it means you are absolutely up for the challenge, so I am delighted to have him.

(Full-back) Jamie Reckord has been fantastic since he joined, as has (striker) Malachi Linton, they have shown me why they wanted to come here.

Lawson D’Ath. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz

Playmaker Lawson D’Ath sat out the friendly at Huish Park having missed the Taunton Town game, but Hargreaves insisted the knock was “nothing to worry about.”

He said: “I have a lot of sympathy for Lawson because he’s had a couple of pre-seasons where he’s not been able to get fit, some with serious injuries and some with bad luck.

He just had a reoccurrence of an injury, ever so slight but we have to make sure when he gets back, he gets back fully fit.

Nothing to worry about, just a frustration really.”

Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves is hoping to have more players in before the first home pre-season friendly against Exeter City at the weekend.

Speaking after the 0-0 draw at National League South newcomers Taunton Town on Tuesday night, the boss said he hoped to have “a couple of bodies” in by the time the League One new boys arrive at Huish Park.

Chris Hargreaves talks to the club’s YouTube channel.

He also revealed that some of the trialists who featured in the game in the county town last night could return for that fixture, and that he is looking to get midfielder Lawson D’Ath and forwards Charlie Wakefield and Ollie Hulbert back after they missed the first friendly through injury.

The manager said: “I have so much admiration for the way Exeter do their business, the way they recruit and coached, so it will be another really good test.

I am hoping to have another couple of bodies in the building before that game and hopefully some injuries back.”

Full-back Chiori Johnson, released by Torquay United at the end of last season, played most of the game at Wordsworth Drive with a midfielder, believed to be former AFC Telford man Dominic McHale, playing the first half before being replaced by Bristol-born striker Scott Wilson, who had a brief spell at Aldershot Town last season.

There were a large number of other trialists who took to the pitch in the second half as Hargreaves rang the changes – but we’re not certain on their identities.

Dominic McHale…..probably. Picture courtesy of Will Jones.

On the trialists, the manager added: “It’s so difficult for these lads, they are giving everything for a short amount of time and we’ve got to make quick decisions.

I think a couple showed glimpses of what they can do and one or two will be invited back because we have got to build this squad and we need to unearth some gems and this is the way to do it in pre-season.”

Hargreaves described the injuries to D’Ath, Wakefield and Hulbert was “not long-term worries” but said he left them out of the fixture as a precaution.

The game ended goalless with Tom Knowles seeing a second half penalty saved by Taunton keeper Will Buse, who is born and lives in Yeovil.

On the match, the manager said: “It was a good test. They are in the league below us now, they have a lot of ex-pros, a lot of lads released from pro clubs.

“First half I think we probably rushed things and then in the second half we had a lot more chances, especially when they tired.

“We had the penalty, but we’ve also hit the post, the keeper has made a really good save and on another day we might have got a couple of goals. I was just pleased with the resilience and organisation when needed.

“The injuries to Lawson D’Ath, Charlie Wakefield and Ollie Hulbert at the moment, so we had to change things a bit and that meant (new signing striker) Malachi (Linton) was a bit isolated at times.

“But pre-season is the time to try things and see what these boys are good at and what they need help with and I also have to manage minutes.

“I don’t want to kill them early on, so I made a lot of changes in the second half and we had a team of trialists and young players, but they still understand their roles and responsibilities.

Another new signing, midfielder Sam Perry, was put straight in the side following his arrival on a season-long loan from League Two Walsall on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old played played the first hour on a hot night in Somerset and Hargreaves said he saw enough to make him believe he will be a good addition.

He said: “He’s got the right mentality, he’s played League Two football and has the bit between his teeth.

We saw glimpses of it, he understands the game and he knows when to play and when to dictate the tempo and when to go a bit longer.

He’s a young lad with a lot to learn, but he’s a really good character and one the lads I am sure will enjoy being around.”

Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has said he will only bring in players who are “right for the club” as he continues his search to strengthen his squad.

The Glovers’ boss was speaking to the club’s YouTube channel a week ahead of the first pre-season friendly at Taunton Town next Tuesday, July 12.

Chris Hargreaves talks to the club’s YouTube channel.

He said: “I have spoken to a lot of people and we will come to a decision that is right for the club.

It’s got to be right for the club going forward but there’s been some really positive discussions over the last 24-48 hours.

I have spoken to a lot of people and, if they want to play for this football club, they are coming in and if they don’t, they’re not.

Last week, the boss added full-back Jamie Reckord to the squad following his release by National League rivals Boreham Wood at the end of last season.

Hargreaves said the experience of the 30-year-old, who has more than 200 matches on his CV, would be a boost for the squad.

He added: “He’s a good age, very fit and he’s got the bit between his teeth. He trained yesterday for the first time which was good, so we are happy to have him on board.”

The squad is now in the second week of pre-season training under the watchful eye of the manager, his assistant manager Chris Todd and Marcus Stewart, Head of Player Development.

Hargreaves said: “The lads arrived back fit which is what we wanted. They have certainly done plenty of running, but they will have done before they came in, all footballers do now, don’t they?

It’s so critical to your performance. I have been impressed with it and it’s been good for me, Marcus =and Toddy to see the lads perform and we look forward to the next few weeks because there’s a lot of work to be done.

We want fitness from the lads over the next few weeks and continue getting strong and understanding more about them as a group and as individuals and what we can get out of them.

As you do as a player, when it gets closer to the first game, you want to get in the team, so I want to see that from the players.