Ian Allinson says Boreham Wood have to improve on last season and can do so if they avoid a repeat of last year's injury problems

Allinson: We have to improve on last season

Allinson: We have to improve on last season

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Ian Allinson says Boreham Wood can improve on last season’s 13th place finish, if they avoid the injuries which hampered their start last year.

The Wood lost four and won just one of their first six league fixtures last season and Allinson believes injuries to a trio of key players prevented his side from getting off to a better start.

“It’s like every season: we have to improve on last season,” explained Allinson.

“I think we probably underachieved last year from where we finished the year before but it came through – for me – the start of the season where we got some major injuries to some very key players.

“Callum Reynolds was out for ten weeks, Luke Garrard for four weeks, Ben Nunn for five weeks and they’re very key players for us. It took its toll and we got on a poor run and lost a little bit of confidence and by the time we came back again, we were always on that spell where we were starting to struggle.”

Allinson has worked his side hard this pre-season in preparation for the new Conference South season, which begins next Saturday, August 9, with matches against Watford, Luton Town and a Reading XI in the last eight days, as well as a fixture against an Arsenal XI last night (Friday).

And the 56-year-old believes there is plenty of merit to facing strong sides in pre-season.

He said: “It’s difficult when we say we’re ‘picking up on the weaknesses’ because we’ve got to be careful we don’t go over the top with the weaknesses because of the quality of the opposition we’re playing, we’re always going to pick up some weaknesses.

“It’s good for them to realise what they’re playing against as well; how good some of these players are and how physically fit some of these players are. I think we’re a fit side anyway – I think we’ve proved that.

“We’ve worked the players hard since they’ve been back and these games are great for fitness. Hopefully we can take that into the first game of the season,” Allinson added.

After Tuesday’s friendly at Enfield Town was cancelled due to the state of the Towners’ pitch, Wood held Conference Premier champions Luton Town to a goalless draw at Meadow Park instead.

Pelly Ruddock had the Hatters’ best chance of the first half, shooting over after Alex Wall picked him out with a dinked pass.

James Russell – who returned to the side after missing the Watford defeat – made his only save of the half when he denied Wall shortly after.

Lee Angol had Wood’s best chance but found experienced Hatters keeper Mark Tyler on top form.

Wall came close once more after the break, bringing the best out of Russell from 25 yards, before Garrard drove a free-kick narrowly wide.

Twenty hours after hosting the Hornets, a much-changed Wood side played out a goalless draw against a Reading XI.

Four trialists started for the Wood, with those who did not feature heavily against Watford the previous night picked from the start against the Royals.

In a game of few chances, Callum Donnelly had the hosts’ first chance and was denied an opener by a clearance on the line.

James Courtnage did well to deny Dominic Samuel and Craig Tanner in quick succession, with neither side able to make the breakthrough.

Not for the first time in pre-season, Boreham Wood acquitted themselves well against strong opposition before losing 1-0 to Watford last Thursday.

The Wood were again impressive as they held the Championship side for 67 minutes before Matej Vydra’s deflected shot saw Beppe Sannino’s Hornets home.

Courtnage – deputising for regular number one Russell – excelled between the sticks for the hosts, who contained their visitors for more than an hour.

Vydra’s goal, cutting in from the left and firing home with the aid of a deflection, separated the two sides, who traded a number of presentable chances throughout the 90 minutes.

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