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Pre-season training stepping up with a set of pre-season friendlies

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Barking’s first team manager Andy Pudney believes the coaching staff will learn a lot about their side over the coming weeks as pre-season training steps up a notch.

The Goresbrook outfit start their friendly matches this weekend with a home tie against Esher’s second team at Gale Street.

And though Pudney believes training, led by director of rugby Dean Cutting and his fellow coaching staff has gone well, he feels more will be learnt over the next two weeks before they start their National Two South season at Lydney on September 1.

“All in all pre-season training has been going well,” said Pudney. “We have had to deal with people going away on holidays, but other than that things have come along nicely.

“We had a team bonding session up in London a while ago and that seemed to go down well. All the players are working as a group and there doesn’t appear to be any disharmony amongst them.

“Some sessions have been feisty, but we will learn a lot from the game scenarios over the next couple of weeks and whether the tactics put in place will work.

“But nothing beats the actual action of when the league season starts, and hopefully it will put us in good stead. The coaches have been working on a game plan and they will be putting it into practice over the next couple of weeks.

The squad Barking have assembled will be youthful with fly-half Craig Ratford captaining the team at the tender age of 21

“It is a young group but we are starting to build a good atmosphere at the club, and that is what we want not just for this season, but one to build on over the next few years,” said Pudney.

“We want to create an environment where players want to play for the club, rather than just coming here to pick up their next pay cheque.”

After Saturday’s game, Barking travel to National One side Rosslyn Park on Friday night before a senior squad training session on August 25 ahead of their season’s opener Lydney.

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