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Gaffer: We will get match sharpness

17 July 2018

Manager Gary Johnson insisted the sharpness of his Robins will come in the next few weeks - after they played a behind closed doors squad game with Reading on Tuesday afternoon.

Striker Mo Eisa grabbed his fifth goal of pre-season but the clinical Royals eventually ran out 4-1 winners at the Reading club's training base.

Johnson used the game to play as many members of his squad as possible and also a number of up and coming Academy players - as he looked at different combinations and formations ahead of the new campaign.

And he admitted the sharpness of the Royals had been the big difference - but is sure his Robins will find that cutting edge in the coming weeks ahead of the new Sky Bet League Two season.

"It was a chance to have a look at the whole squad, get that match fitness into them, and we also got the young lads down to be part of it and a first team set-up," said Johnson.

"I felt that Reading were a few weeks ahead of us in terms of their sharpness, as they have been back a little bit longer. We created chances but we weren't sharp enough today. But it will come.

"We've worked the players very hard this week in training, but they will see the benefit of that as we get closer to the season.

"We've got a few weeks until we need our full fitness and sharpness. At the moment they are doing some heavy work and running because they need that in them.

"We will get better and we didn't quite take our chances when we carved them out. Mo (Eisa) scored a good goal again, but Reading took advantage of any mistakes we made round the penalty area.

"It's a learning curve for us all, but we will be ready when it comes to Crawley at the start of the season."

The Robins are next in action on Thursday evening when they face Evesham United and Johnson added: "We need to see who is fit, who are the natural athletes who are still going to be running after 80 minutes.

"We have four games in week during this spell - but come the season we will have three games in the week so we need that fitness and there are no excuses.

"The sharpness will come in the final two weeks of pre-season leading into the first game - that what was missing today."

Robins Squad: Flinders, Lovett, Boyle, Bower, Mullins, Forster, Duncan, Tozer, Broom, Smith, Atangana, Thomas, Addai, Graham, Eisa, Lloyd, Trialist, Scott, Brennan, Price, Handley, K Thomas.

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