Remember last season, a deal or no deal series I did about the players coming out of contract? Well, whilst not looking at the trialist's on an individual basis as such I would suggest on the first glimpse, my first glimpse of pre-season yesterday at Basingstoke - a game we could and probably should have lost - not too many 'should' be expecting a new home to be found at Fratton...
I would hope anyway to be honest!
The guy in central defence, Audel, simply not good enough on that evidence - in Joel Ward we already have someone here, who despite lacking experience would, for me, be one of my 'back-up' players for this season as the youngster looked better than the French defender to me...
1st half left back trialists, Bhasera, I am not sure really. I cannot really say I saw enough of him to decide - maybe seen as he was highly rated by Battenberg, and others, the other night against Havant & Waterloovile he is worth a few more looks at?
Bopp, sorry, whilst I agree that he is worth looking at during pre-season, based on this evidence without a doubt he is not good enough in my mind. The guy looked poor, his passing was way wood and as I have mentioned before I would be horrified if we offered him a deal...That said 'if' we are going to keep looking at him play him against the big boys to see how he goes...
The midfielder, M'Bami, anonymous for me, maybe not always a bad thing, sometimes if you do not notice a player it is not a bad thing, but I cannot say that I noticed him do anything that looked that impressive - then again I 'could' be being too harsh?
Striker? I say striker but I could not really tell if he was playing up top with Dave Nugent or off him in a 4-5-1 formation, which I suspect was a 4-5-1 - this formation again is alarming, without a doubt in a pre-season! Anyway, Pancrate, hmm... I really thought he was poor. Offered little, or nothing and appeared no threat at all - from this I can see why he was not offered a contract last summer when he was on trial.
Moutaouakil, the right back on trial from Charlton, looked ok going forward - I could sense why the former French U21 captain was apparently so 'sought after' when he joined Charlton a few years ago, but you have to question why we are bringing in a player from league one, granted Charlton have only recently dropped out of the championship, but still clubs were not exactly beating down his door then. Probably worth another go tomorrow to be fair.
All-in-all there were not many pluses from Saturday, it was a new ground for me and a real throw back to 'real football', a stadium and atmosphere, with people that were 'content' with their lot, as Basingstoke fans seemed to be.
Football wise, the lot that came on in the 2nd half were much better.
James Hurst looks impressive - willing and able to get forward, certainly one to watch. Paris Cowan-Hall, who should have scored, looked ok and appears to have some promise. Joel Ward, based on this, would make a sound squad player and Younes Kaboul again looked assured - a big player for us this season methinks.
But, for me, the pick of the bunch was Angelos Basinas - absolute quality! I know you have to look at the opposition, but his class, experience and ability shone through. He controlled the midfield and pulled all the strings, his switching of play from right-left, or left-to right, with minimal effort was fantastic. Without a doubt, as I felt should have been the case last season, the Greek international must be part of the starting 11 this season.
Basically, on the evidence of what I saw on yesterday, if it was my decision to make this decision here and now I would not be offering any of these trialist's contracts, that is not to say I would not looked again. I certainly would not be rushing into any decision until I saw them play against higher quality opposition, as not that many looked out of place against their non-league opponents, that statement in itself is a worry!
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