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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Positively Go Wing Forward

(Guest blogger time: I'm delighted to welcome the erudite Cruncher to these pages for the first of what I hope will be many contributions. I much admired yer man's blogs for the Pride of Somerset site last season and any post by him on the green room and then the achieve by unity forums are always required reading. Here's his first blog for this site, hopefully the first of many.

Positively Go Wing Forward

Well we're nearly ready for the real stuff and sure as ever the first August kick off approaches with the traditional mix of excitement and vulnerability. Not that we would have it any other way, of course. Bliss is the ignorance of those that seek the boring comforts provided by large doorstep-populations and Russian billionaires - they know not what they are missing.

What certainly is not missing at Huish Park is a positive management team, determined to cut a way through all the restrictive financial barbed wire to assemble a promising youthful blend of signed and loaned players. Terry Skiverton leads from the front with the McCawberish perspective that good times will come, though importantly with the added self-belief that he will engineer that good future and not depend on fate. To continue the Dickensian theme, he needs to be as shrewd as Scrooge with the hunger of Oliver Twist.

Which brings us to assess the manager's pre-season work. My instinct is that he's has gone some way towards rounding the circle (though have a concern or two) but still suspect he might have a trick or two up his sleeve. Increasing striker and flank options has been done cleverly, to my view. Working the forward budget presumably to its limit, we happily continue with Sam Williams and Dean Bowditch, superbly bolstered by Luke Freeman and Andy Williams also contending the front places, and an exciting prospect with a golden chance to come through in Craig Calver. Such a full and varied striking provision (especially all fit) has been unheard of since the cull of Kirk, Owusu & co.

I'm also excited by our new strength on the wings. Last year a lack of strength in depth and variety in the wing department caused problems. Andy Welsh had a very good season, but Scott Murray disappointed, hindered initially through a lingering injury problem. Gavin Tomlin did well on the right, but a return for Arron Davies backfired (another lingering injury, it later transpired). And Downes was injured most of the time. With no back-up or alternative to Welsh and Tomlin, I felt that as a squad we had our thrust and attacking intent diluted, and that it impacted on other areas.

With a quartet of Welsh, new signing Andy Williams, and hot Premiership prospects Luke Freeman and Cameron Stewart on loan, I am hopeful that we will get more goals and points. The interchanging in the forward and wide positions that has been glimpsed in the pre-season matches also provides for optimism that we will have a more potent attacking force. The flexibility of Williams and Freeman is such a boost, especially with budget in mind, and Stewart seems able on either wing, regarded as a good crosser who can also cut in and score. His arrival now makes Williams available as another striker option. And all have pace aplenty.

There has been the odd murmur that we have become top-heavy on wingers, I did see a hint (was a bit tongue-in-cheek, I think) on the Achieve by Unity forum from *Mine Host that we might already have had enough wingers before Stewart's arrival, and in the context that we may well still need some other departments reinforced I can see the sense in that. With some need to defend by attacking, my two-penneth is that Skiverton has a good and necessary balance between his four exciting wing options, especially with the value to the budget that Freeman's and Williams's versatility provides.

*Opportune time to say a big thank you to Taff and to let you know who to blame. I have long-admired his blogs and forum posts and before that his Ciderspace work, so I feel he has afforded me a great privilege. Whether he was drunk at the time, I don't know, but it's a bit like risking someone's muddy boots trail through your pristine Homes and Garden living room. The biggest joy has to be at the chance to do such a terrible, terrible pun as is the title - it really is a strong addiction, for which I apologise (but have no remorse).

Right, as we were: a bit of tweaking does appear to be needed, or I fear that we might see a lot of entertaining positive football but not enough points to show for it - some deja vu about that. As it happens, I have a feeling that manager Skiverton is on the case, based on .. nothing concrete. I am glad to see that we have now three good contracted centre-backs, and am enthused about the young and versatile Watford loanee Rob Kiernan, but share concerns that we may be now exposed to fast counter-attacking after having the luxury pairing (as I saw it) of Forbes and Caulker. Sullivan has shown some good ability, by reports, though I wonder if a revisit or similar to McCarthy's loan of last season might be the longer plan.

With Alcock and Smith still staying, and the new additions of Ayling and Upson, I think the potential of this squad is put into perspective by stating that a couple of the golden additions of last season, (such as McCarthy, Mason, MacDonald, SuperGav) could realistically raise League Table hopes to a comparatively giddy height.

Has the shrewd (nay, resourceful) and hungry Terry Skiverton got anything left in his kitty to juggle with? I am not sure, and that is where the nerves are a bit egdy, but on the whole, I continue to admire how he goes about his rebuild and can't wait for the excitement proper to begin.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

PSF: Yeovil Town 1 Bristol City 3

Many apologies but having just written approximately 800 words on last night's 3-1 loss to Bristol City and then losing the lot just because had automatically signed me out of my blogging account WITHOUT BLOODY TELLING ME, I really don't feel inclined to re-write the whole thing again; so seeing as it was only a friendly I'll make do with a few pithy observations instead:

As with the Manchester United reserves game, we looked good going forward. The front four of Williams (Andy), Freeman, Bowditch and Williams (Sam) once again worked well together in the first half and we could and should have scored more than the penalty we did score from. In the second half Freeman replaced Bowditch in the centre and Welsh came onto the left wing for Freeman and we were less effective generally, though perhaps that was more because we were by then winning less of the ball in midfield than we were in the first half. But in general our attacking play is looking a cut above what it was this time last year.

In midfield we are currently relying very heavily on one player, Kalala. When he went off yesterday we gradually lost control of the centre of midfield. Ayling and Upson are two very promising players but it's asking a lot to expect them to replace the likes of Shaun MacDonald and to a lesser extent, Ryan Mason. They may well prove very adequate replacements eventually, but to expect them to slot right in and play straightaway means we're risking a lot of short-term pain while we're waiting for them to adjust to League One.

Defensively, I'm concerned by our lack of pace at centre-back. Both Paul Huntington and Adam Virgo were caught out by City's pace up front yesterday and we looked particularly vulnerable when playing a high line in defence. We could get away with it last season because our central defenders Terrell Forbes and Steven Caulker had the speed to recover if the line was breached, but neither Huntington, Virgo or Stefan Stam have that same raw pace and we were exposed relatively easily at times, both yesterday and in last Saturday's United reserves game. It may be that the new loan signing Rob Kiernan can give us that cover, but again, it's asking a lot of a young and untested player. Players of the calibre of Steven Caulker don't grow on trees.

As for the goalkeeping situation I have to admit I'm somewhat underwhelmed with current first choice John Sullivan and even more underwhelmed to hear today's news that Skivo is considering re-employing last year's model Richard Martin. Two months ago Martin wasn't considered good enough and was released. He must have made great strides in a very short space of time since then. Sullivan himself didn't have the best of games yesterday. He made several good saves but his kicking was poor and the command of his box wasn't what it was against United's kids. I'm not condemning him on the basis of one iffy game, but I am comparing him to last season's custodian Alex McCarthy. And I'm afraid that so far, it seems that we've downgraded.

Regardless of anything else I admit I was disappointed by the result of last night's game. TBCUTR have had a poor pre-season up until now, losing to the likes of Aldershot and Exeter and I trundled along to Huish Park last night fully expecting us to add to their woes. Alas, it wasn't to be. That's it I'm afraid, I'm all written out. You should have seen the stuff I wrote that blogspot wiped out, sheer poetry it was, honest. Sigh.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

PSF: Yeovil Town 3 Manchester United Reserves 2

A crowd of 6,664 turned up at Huish Park yesterday to pay tribute to Glovers hero Darren Way in his testimonial match against Manchester United Reserves, and they were treated to a competitive and entertaining game, the Glovers coming out on top by 3 goals to 2. United's kids started brightly, Ravel Morrison missing the target with a free header right in front of goal early on, but Yeovil gradually took control of possession and were creating more chances. Dean Bowditch was unlucky not to score with a shot from the edge of the box that hit the bar, and both JP Kalala and Andy Williams came close as the half went on. Somewhat against the run of play the visitors went in front on 36 minutes, Rodrigo Possebon scoring with a low drive from the edge of the box past trialist keeper John Sullivan. The goal knocked the Glovers out of their stride a touch, and United came close to extending their lead before half-time, Sullivan doing well to save another Possebon effort amongst other attempts on the Yeovil goal.

The Glovers came out invigorated after the break and drew level on 47 minutes with a JP Kalala special from fully 30 yards. The visitors keeper got his hands to the shot, but such was the power behind it could only parry the ball into the back of the net. If JP scores a better goal this season I'll eat my season ticket! Two minutes later and a short corner caught the visitors napping allowing Andy Williams to provide the perfect cross for Sam Williams to find the net unchallenged in the 6 yard box. A further 2 minutes on and Yeovil were 3-1 up, another corner causing chaos in the vistors defence with Sam Williams heading the ball across the 6 yard box for trialist Adam Virgo to nod in from close range. The match settled down again thereafter, the flow of the game not being helped by the usual wholesale substitutions from both sides as the second half wore on. Manchester pulled a goal back on 77 minutes when Robbie Brady scored with a shot into the corner of the net, but that was the end of the scoring. There just remained a brief cameo from Glovers gaffer Terry Skiverton and, with a minute left, the appearance of the man of the moment, Darren Way.

Seeing both Skivo and Weasel on the pitch together was quite a lump-in-the-throat moment. The end of an era most definitely, but what an era. I remember seeing Darren make his debut in a Yeovil shirt in a reserve team pre-season friendly back in August 2000 and I've been fortunate enough to watch most of his career since. A small man in stature, he was a huge presence on the pitch and his central midfield partnership with Lee Johnson was pivotal in propelling this club up the leagues to it's present lofty status. It's been a privilege to watch him over the years and it was a privilege to be present yesterday to pay tribute to him.

As usual, merit marks for the match:

1. John Sullivan: 7/10 - impressive performance, couldn't be faulted for either of the visitors goals. Controlled his box, claimed the high balls and looked to be a good shot-stopper.

2. Craig Alcock: 6/10 - Quiet game, did his job.

3. Nathan Jones: 4/10 - No lack of effort from Nathan, but badly exposed for pace by his opposite number. Bailed out by Luke Freeman tracking back a little too often for comfort.

5. Paul Huntington: 5/10 - I must say I didn't really notice our new signing feature too much yesterday, at either end of the pitch. Subbed at half-time.

14. Stefan Stam: 5/10 - Not the best of displays. Bothered by the pace of the visitors attack and nearly gave a goal away with a suicidal pass across goal which left Adam Virgo with nowhere to go. Unconvincing.

8. Luke Ayling and 16. JP Kalala: 8/10 for both. The more I see of Ayling the more I like him. Combative in the tackle and bags of time on the ball. I know it's early days yet and only the pre-season, but he looks a real find. As for JP, he really imposed himself on the game when United's youngsters were threatening to take control, and scored a cracker. Excellent stuff.

7. Andy Williams: 7/10 - Another very promising outing. Again provided a stream of crosses from the flanks and looked direct and threatening, with plenty of pace.

9. Sam Williams: 8/10 - Big improvement on last weekend. Looked fitter, faster and sharper; took his goal well and set up another. More of the same, please!

10. Dean Bowditch: 7/10 - As with Big Sam above, a big improvement on last weekend. Looked fitter, faster and sharper, and was unlucky not to score himself. More of the same, please!

11. Luke Freeman: 8/10 - My man of the match. My first look at Luke and he didn't disappoint. Spent most of his time on the left wing and showed himself to be a tricky and direct player with plenty of channelled aggression. Worked extremely hard for the team and unlucky not to score himself. Very encouraging.

What I particularly liked about our performance going forward was the way the two wingers interchanged with each other and Dean Bowditch up front. One minute Freeman and Andy Williams were on the left and right respectively, the next they had swapped positions. At times it was Bowditch up front with Sam Williams, at other times it was Freeman, with Bowditch taking his place. At other times it looked like we changed from the usual 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1, with Sam Williams the lone striker and the other three interchanging behind him. It all looked pretty seamless anyway and more importantly, effective.

15. Adam Virgo (for Huntington, 45 minutes): 5/10 - I was impressed with Virgo last week but I'm not so sure after yesterday's performance. Good in the air and took his goal well, but looked a little ungainly at times and was caught out for pace against United's youngsters too often for my liking. Against that I don't suppose he'll face such a pacey attack every week in League 1.

I won't give marks for the other subs, for the record they were:
12. Danny Hutchins (for Alcock 75), 17. Billy Gibson (for Kalala 75), 18. Craig Calvert (for Bowditch 75), 19. Sean McAllister (for Andy Williams 75), 20. Scott Guyett (for Stam 75), 21. Lloyd Matthews (for Sam Williams 75), 22. Ed Upson (for Ayling 75), Terry Skiverton (for Freeman 87), Darren Way (for Jones 89).

For what it's worth Gibson and McAllister are trialists and of course we all know who Scott Guyett is! It may or may not be telling to suggest that he looked no worse, or better, than any other central defender on show yesterday for the short time he was on the pitch.

Two weeks to go to the start of the season then and the squad is beginning to take shape. I've been generally impressed by the new contracted players but the obvious concern is the sheer lack of numbers. The starting XI looks to be full of pace and flair going forward, the worries come when looking at the replacements - not that there's anything wrong with them, there just isn't enough of them! Hopefully that will be addressed before the season proper starts in two weeks time. Bristol City up next on Wednesday night anyway and I'll be looking forward to seeing this team play again. On the evidence of the last two friendlies they're going to be well worth watching this season.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Silence from the boardroom is deafening

A few weeks ago the board announced plans to form a new company - Yeovil Town Holdings Ltd - to coexist alongside the existing company, Yeovil Football and Athletic Club Ltd. The reason for this as far as one could glean from the titbits of information doled out by the club was to separate the club's property assets from it's football operation. The property assets - in other words Huish Park Stadium and the surrounding land - would be owned by the new company with the football operation run by the existing company.

Since then we've heard nothing, at least nothing from the club. We found out this week that South Somerset District Council have earmarked approximately half of the Huish Park site as one of 7 possibilities on which the proposed Yeovil Sportzone - a multi-million pound development including a 50m swimming pool, gym, indoor tennis centre and climbing centre - might be built. One might have thought that such a potentially important development on the Huish Park site would have been worth a comment from the board, even if it was just to confirm that fans would still have somewhere to park their cars should the proposed development go ahead, but as usual the silence from the boadroom is deafening.

It might be that the Sportzone proposals have nothing to do with formation of the new Holding Company at the club, and indeed it would seem highly unlikely that any such large-scale development would be given the go-ahead at Huish Park when there would appear to be at the very least several more advantageous sites around the Yeovil area; nevertheless is it a coincidence that these proposals have come to light just after the board's separation of the stadium and grounds from the club's football operation?

The history of clubs going down the road of splitting property assets from their football operations is a short and unhappy one. AFC Bournemouth, Southend Utd, Rotherham and Crystal Palace are all recent examples and warnings. In this case silence is not golden, the board owe supporters a full explanation of what they are doing and why they are doing it. Chairman John Fry is very fond of claiming that the club is run transparently and openly. It's time for him to prove it.

Back to the football: There's still no real movement to report in terms of Skivo adding to his squad, though the gaffer has said this week that he has a verbal agreement in place to sign a keeper on loan. ITK's suggest that David Button of Tottenham or Elliot Parish of Aston Villa are possibilities, and either would be very acceptable; but I'm still hoping that Alex McCarthy might yet fancy another season in deepest Somerset. Time will tell.

As far as the rest of the squad is concerned there's been no additions or subtractions that we've been told about this week and Skivo has said he's only looking for a couple more players to complete the squad. Which would give us a senior squad of around 16 players by my maths, not even enough for a full bench without the addition of a few academy lads. Again, time will tell and with another fortnight before the start of the season proper Skivo still has room for manoeuvre.

Tomorrow sees the visit of Manchester United's reserve side for Darren Way's testimonial game. I know a lot of people don't agree with the very idea of testimonial's in this day and age and to be honest I do have some sympathy with that point of view, but if ever there deserves to be an exception to that general rule then surely this is it. Good luck to Weasel for tomorrow.

Just Read: We Joined The Navy by John Winton: Actually this must be about the 30th time I've read this book and it still makes me laugh even now. Written in 1959, it's a wonderfully warm and witty look at life as a cadet in the Royal Navy and even though it's very dated it's still well worth reading, both for the humour and as a chronicle of more innocent times. Wonderful.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

PSF: Yeovil Town 0 Swansea City 1

Well, it was nice to be back at Huish Park in the sun to watch a game of football. You can't beat live football. Even a fairly gentle pre-season friendly is, I think, preferable to any amount of televised World Cup games, HD or no HD. And better still, no vuvuzelas.

As for the match, Swansea were worthy winners. They had more of the ball, as you would expect from a side playing in a higher division, and looked more of a threat in front of goal, even if David Cotteril's 5th minute solo effort was their only reward. For the Glovers the interest came from seeing the new players for the first time and as far as they were concerned the verdict was, so far so good. Andy Williams, Luke Ayling, Paul Huntington and, later on, Ed Upson all showed up well and did enough to show they're going to be useful assets to the squad this season.

We lined up as follows (4-4-2):

1. Ben Roberts: 6/10 - Shot stopping good, kicking bad, shouting at the rest of the team excellent.

2. Craig Alcock (Captain): 6/10 - Had his hands full coping with Dave Cotteril but managed pretty well most of the time. Didn't get forward as much as he would doubtless have liked.

3. Nathan Smith: 6/10 - Had a real battle with opposite number Nathan Dyer and came out honours even. Delighted to see him back for the season.

4. Stefan Stam: 5/10 - Looked a bit short of pace at times but otherwise solid enough, apart from the time both he and partner Huntington were turned inside out by Cotteril for Swansea's goal.

5. Paul Huntington: 6/10 - Decent debut after a slightly dodgy start. Looked good in the air and the odd foray out from the back with the ball at his feet was almost Caulker-esque, dare I say it. Promising.

6. Jean-Paul Kalala: 6/10 - Typical JP performance. Glad he's back for the season.

7. Andy Williams: 7/10 - Started his YTFC career on the right wing and provided a whole series of dangerous crosses that the front men should have done more with. Says he wants to play up front, but if he carries on like this it will be difficult to take him off the flank. Encouraging.

8. Luke Ayling: 6/10 - My first real look at Luke and I liked what I saw. Kept the ball well, always available for the pass and always looking to release the front men. Seemed to have plenty of time on the ball, which, they say, is the sign of a good player.

9. Sam Williams: 4/10 - Not the best game I've seen Sam play. Looked off the pace and missed a couple of good scoring opportunities. Early days yet, we know he's better than this.

10. Dean Bowditch: 5/10 - Enthusiastic performance, by which I mean he ran around a lot and got into some good positions, but without ever looking like scoring. More to come.

11. Andy Welsh: 5/10 - Quiet game. Provided one or two decent crosses but on the whole struggled to get involved.

Subs: Richard Martin (46 mins for Ben Roberts): 8/10 - Easily the best 45 minutes I've seen him play. Made a couple of excellent saves, kicking was good and commanded his box. Surprising!

Adam Virgo (46 mins for Stefan Stam): 6/10 - Calm and classy. Would only enhance the squad, if we have the budget to sign him.

Ed Upson (70 mins): 7/10: Easily the pick of the outfield subs on 70 minutes. Combative, quick and a great range of passing. I'd like to see more of him next time.

Lloyd Matthews, Craig Calver, Nathan Jones, Danny Hutchins, Sam Hewson, Billy Knott, Kevin Lacroix and an unnamed Trialist (all introduced on 70 mins): No mark for any of these players, none of them really stood out so better luck next time. If there is a next time for some of them.

Here we go again then, off on the merry-go-round of another new season. What was encouraging about yesterday was that all 11 of the starting XI are contracted to the club next season, which makes a nice change; though of course we mustn't forget that we still don't really have a goalkeeper, either a first choice or a back-up. What wasn't so encouraging was that - Andy Williams crosses aside - we didn't create a whole lot in front of goal, and those chances we did make weren't taken. Still, Luke Freeman, injured yesterday, is still to come, and it's early days yet.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Magic Daps gets his cake and eats it

Pre-season training has been going on for around two weeks now, and while there's been no real news regarding definite signings we do have some interesting possible signings to run the rule over at tomorrow's first home friendly against Swansea City.

The main points of interest come at centre-half, where 2 trialists have been training with the Glovers. They are former Brighton defender Adam Virgo, as mentioned last week; and former Leeds and Stockport centre-half Paul Huntington. Virgo's pedigree as a solid, reliable performer is well established, but Huntington is perhaps less well-known. Well, he's less well-known by me at any rate, in fact I'd never heard of him before now. He's potentially a very interesting acquisition however. He's 6'3", 22 years old and began his career at Newcastle, making 16 Premiership appearances for the Geordies at a comparatively young age before being transferred to Elland Road. Injury decimated his time at Leeds however and he eventually ended up at Stockport, where he played most of last season, making 26 appearances for the Hatters. He's clearly got potential, but equally clearly could be regarded as being injury-prone - in other words he sounds the ideal player for us. Young, hungry, and presumably looking to use us as a stepping-stone to get back to the higher levels of the game; but a bit risky for the bigger clubs in the division to be taking a chance with. Last term we managed to go the entire season with only 3 central defenders in the squad - Steven Caulker, Terrell Forbes and Stefan Stam. This season we could potentially do the same with Stam, Virgo and Huntington; plus a loan signing if and when required.

But we may be getting ahead of ourselves. Skivo's budget may not allow him to sign both Huntington and Virgo, time will tell. There are other trialists at the club in other positions. As far as can be told keepers Matt Glennon and Richard Martin are still with us and this week we were informed we have a 19-year-old striker on trial, Craig Calver from AFC Sudbury, a former Southend youth player. There are still more trialists around apparently, but the club have done a good job in keeping their identities secret, at least until tomorrow.

One signing we do know of is the return of midfield enforcer JP Kalala, subject to a medical. I know some people regard JP as a kind of anti-footballer, a poor man's Van Bommel if you will, but I'm not one of them. His passing and general distribution is better than he's given credit for and his ball-winning abilities and defensive know-how will be needed in a squad that so far seems to consist of mainly kids, flair players and Andy Welsh. In an ideal world we would all play like Barcelona, but in League One that just ain't going to happen and you need an enforcer like Kalala at times. I'm happy he's back, even if he is a pain in the arse.

One player we now won't be signing is Lee Trundle, who's taken his magic daps to The Gnoll in preference to Huish Park. The where? I hear you ask. The Gnoll is the home of Welsh Premier League side Neath, who offered the former Swansea favourite a 3-year £2500 a week deal to become the WPL's highest paid player. Trundle no doubt bit their chairman's arm off, as well as his other arm, legs and head, as well as finishing off the sandwiches in his packed lunch. I would have loved a fit and motivated Lee Trundle to have signed for us at one point, but that point was some years ago now. Skivo might (and presumably does) disagree, but I can't help feeling we've dodged a bullet on this one.

Stop press! News just coming in over the ether - Paul Huntington has signed a 2 year deal with the club and JP Kalala a 1 year deal. Good news!

Last week's behind closed doors games ended in a 3-3 draw at Wycombe and a 1-0 loss at Stevenage, not that anyone's counting. Anyhow, it's off to Huish Park tomorrow for the first friendly of the season. I'm looking forward to seeing our new signings play, in particular Andy Williams, Luke Freeman, Ed Upson and now Paul Huntington. It will also be nice to see Shaun MacDonald back at Huish Park, albeit playing for someone else.

Just read: Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony by John Scalzi. Super SF trilogy set in a hostile universe where mankind has reached the stars only to find hundreds of other intelligent species doing their level best to wipe each other out. But in the end the biggest threat to man comes from within... Think Heinlein's Starship Troopers, but with a sense of humour and added balls. Recommended.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Silly season warming up

Pre-season training has been going on for over a week now and the big news is that there really isn't that much big news around. We have made another signing since I last blogged, 20-year midfielder Ed Upson, who was released by Ipswich at the end of last season. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about him or that I've even heard of him before, but Skivo was obviously impressed enough to offer him a 2-year deal, so good luck Ed and welcome to Huish Park.

Andy Williams and Luke Ayling have signed their agreed 2-year deals so they're ours now and we can do what we like with them (evil laugh). Skivo has already said that he sees Ayling as a central midfielder rather than the central defender he's been up 'til now. Young Gunner Luke Freeman has also now signed a 6-month loan deal, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the above at the first friendly of the season, at least the first one that's not behind closed doors, against Swansea City a week on Saturday. According to the invaluable @SW6Haribo on Twitter the Glovers are in the Home Counties this weekend for training matches against Wycombe and Stevenage.

Hopefully we'll have a goalkeeper for those games! It's been confirmed that 31-year-old former Bradford City, Huddersfield and Carlisle keeper Matt Glennon is training with the club, as, perhaps surprisingly, is Richard Martin, who of course was released by Skivo at the end of last season. The rumour is that Skivo is hoping to entice Alex McCarthy back to Huish Park for another season which if true might explain the apparent relaxed attitude to getting a keeper signed up, doubtless more will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Another player worth mentioning who's been training with the Glovers this week is former Brighton defender Adam Virgo, but judging by Skivo's comments it's more a question of whether he fancies joining us rather than the other way around. Former Glover Scott Guyet has also been present this week following his release by Bournemouth as well as an unnamed German central defender. It's not known whether anyone mentioned the World Cup to our teutonic guest, but if they did let's hope they got away with it.

Funny story of the week was the one about Super Gavin Williams signing for League Two no-hopers Hereford United. Bullshitter fans were getting very excited about the possibility on their forum, right up until the time Gav got to hear about it himself and said, er no. What would make the story even funnier would be if the multi-talented Welshman then signed up for one of the Hereford's bitterest rivals instead, and no, I don't mean Cheltenham. Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but maybe not. Fingers crossed, eh?

And finally: Lee Trundle. We have made him an offer, according to Skivo, as have several other clubs including Tranmere (where he's training), Swindon, Charlton and Welsh Premiership side Neath Athletic. I think my feelings about the possibility of Trundle signing are best summed up by the erudite Cruncher on the Achieve By Unity forum: "If we are going to give it a go for an expensive flair player, it has to be only one and the one that stands out is SuperGav. No idea if he will become available for loan, but I would want to keep a hopeful slot open for him rather than commit to Trundle and miss out on Williams." Couldn't put it better myself.

Just read: Loadsa stuff so far this summer but what stands out in particular is a series I've re-read: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. Easily the best lets-go-to-Mars-and-colonise-and-terraform-the-place series I've read, and believe me, I've read a few. It's long, overlong for a lot of people perhaps but I loved every word of it. If ever human beings get to Mars then this is the template on how to do it. Inspirational.