YEOVIL Town conceded eight goals on the opening day of last season; they scored first against a Luton Town side managed by ex-Glover Nathan Jones but their inexperienced team collapsed and left them with the job of living down an 8-2 scoreline.
There were lessons to be learned and manager Darren Way is a quick learner.
During a break in training in the week, he said: “I made a big mistake. I arranged a friendly against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side on the Wednesday before the Luton game. My lads gave everything against top opposition but they had nothing left on the Saturday.”
It will be different this year – they won’t be conceding eight goals at Bury where they open their Sky Bet League Two programme on Saturday.
“I have got together a defence I am already proud of,” said Way. “Before the end of last season I brought in goalkeeper Stuart Nelson when he got his release from Gillingham and although he is in his mid thirties I had no hesitation in giving him a two-year contract.
“His goalkeeping speaks for itself but he does a great job of coaching the back four during games.”
That back four is likely to include two experienced newcomers at Bury. Centre-half will most certainly be Gary Warren, who has signed from Inverness Caledonian Thistle where he was club captain and led them on more than one occasion against mighty Celtic.
Alongside him, Shaun Donnellan is the likely starter. The 20-year-old Irishman started last season at West Brom and moved for a time to Walsall before joining Yeovil on a contract that keeps him at Huish Park for the whole season.
There are encouraging signs from other areas, and after leading the team to that impressive 5-1 friendly victory over a strong Plymouth Argyle team last weekend,
Way said: “I shall be very disappointed if we don’t spend most of the season in the top half of the table. And once you are in top half it is possible to make a strong push for the play-offs.
“I have had a good summer. We have brought in some quality players, several of them on two year contracts, and I haven’t finished yet. I am still working on one or two more players and one of them is a central midfielder.
“I have got two quality midfielders in Jake Gray and James Bailey who are recovering from bad injuries, and Jake should be back soon, so there will be plenty of challenging for the shirts.
“We showed last season that we were capable of raising our game against bigger teams, now I want to see us being consistent against clubs at our level.
“I am sure it will work out. We are growing stronger together.”