SALFORD College seem unlikely opponents, even for a private friendly. How did that game on Monday come about?
The college offer a course in football coaching which is partly run by Neil Redfearn and Darren Sheridan, both former professionals who I have known for a long time.
They play matches as part of the course and are always looking for opponents.
We wanted a decent game to help Jon Worthington and Robbie Williams continue their comebacks from injury, and it went from there.
The match, which took place on a synthetic surface, ended up 4-4 and provided us with a good work-out.
Robbie played the full 90 minutes while Jon came off after an hour, because we felt it wise not to push him too hard on what was a harder surface than normal.
There were also important run-outs for Lucas Akins, who has just gone on loan to Northwich Victoria for a month, and Tom Clarke, who is almost ready for a reserve match after showing good progress in his recovery from his knee operation.
Going back to Darren Sheridan, he’s had a busy week, because after our game, he was heading down to Bournemouth with Barrow, where he is currently one of three senior players in charge of the team.
They put up a great performance in their FA Cup first-round replay at Dean Court, finally losing 3-2 to a goal scored in the last minute of extra time.
I think he fancies having a go at the job on a more permanent basis, and that performance won’t have done his chances any harm at all!
HOW confident are you of avenging our terrible 4-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Grimsby when we play them in the FA Cup?
Johnny, Holme Valley
That loss at Blundell Park should act as an incentive for us, but also as a warning of Grimsby’s capabilities.
They are struggling in League II at present, but they are through to the area semi-finals of the Paint Trophy and got the better of the League I leaders when they beat Carlisle in Tuesday’s FA Cup first-round replay.
And let’s not forget they had come within five minutes of beating them in Cumbria.
We know it will be a difficult tie, and we will have to defend far better than we did over at Grimsby, where we just didn’t play.
But we certainly want to be in the third round, and hopefully get a big fish here and make some money for the club.
We’re looking forward to the tie, but first things first. It’s Leyton Orient at home tomorrow and it’s a big match.
CAN you envisage a time when both Ronnie Wallwork and Jon Worthington will appear in the same Town side, or are their styles too similar?
I can definitely see them lining up alongside each other.
In recent away games, we have played with a three-man midfield, and there would be room for both in that system.
That would also be the case with a 4-4-2, when you want two dogs of war in there.
I’m delighted to have extended the loan of Ronnie from West Brom, because I feel he is getting fitter and stronger with every match he plays for us.
Obviously he hadn’t played first-team football for quite a while when he first came here, but he’s certainly shaken off the rust!
He is fitter and stronger and is getting around the pitch more comfortably.
I’m also more than pleased with the progress made by Jon as he recovers from his groin surgery.
He’s not only our captain, but also a good player, and you can’t have too many of those available!
ANDY BOOTH has played a big role of late. Given his age, do you think he has the legs to last the rest of the season?
It’s a case of getting the right balance between training and rest and recuperation.
When I was getting to the age Boothy is now (34 on December 6) I wanted to train as often as I could because I felt it helped keep me sharp.
But all players are different, and I trust him to tell me if, and when, he needs a bit of a rest.
It’s very much an ongoing conversation between us, and it’s far to say we treat Boothy a little bit differently to most of the other players.
I know he’s had trouble with his knees in the past, but at the minute, his groins and back seem to present more of a problem.
But hopefully we can get the pattern of training and rest right, and if we do that, I can certainly see him lasting until the end of the season and maybe beyond.