PREVIEW: Weston take on Newport County tonight at The Optima Stadium

PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 July 2019

Weston manager Scott Bartlett on the touchline.      Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston manager Scott Bartlett on the touchline. Picture: MARK ATHERTON


Weston head coach Scott Bartlett says he is “happy where we are” ahead of tonight’s friendly with Newport County at the Optima Stadium (7pm).

The Seagulls go up against Mike Flynn's side for their fifth pre-season friendly having previously played Aston & Backwell, Banwell, Exeter City and Slimbridge.

And despite falling to consecutive defeats against League Two Exeter City and Southern League Division One South side Slimbridge, Bartlett says he is looking forward to hosting the Exiles.

"I'm ready for another brilliant test at the stadium, so we can look forward to that one," he said.

"It's fact finding. The whole club is in a transitional period but I'm really happy with where we are. We are going to be competitive, we've got a group that are honest and since we've come back for pre-season on July 1 they've been outstanding."

Bartlett says last Thursday's game against the Swans was exactly the game they needed.

"These are the types of tests we want; we are going to play teams like Slimbridge in our league that play us a certain way and the teams we play," he added.

Ben Whitehead made his first start at Thornhill Park where he opened the scoring and Bartlett says he will play a big part for the Seagulls in the weeks to come.

"Ben is going to be a big player for us," he added.

"I'm nursing him back to good health. He had a knee injury just before the end of the season so we are just being really careful with him.

"He's been ready to play now for a couple of weeks but we just targeted this game for him to play 30 minutes.

"He got to 32 minutes and we decided 'he scored a goal, linked up play really well and worked hard, take him off and be ready for Monday'."

Weston have no fresh injury worries and despite Ryan Jones going off in the first half against the Swans, Bartlett says he should be back for tonight's game.

"Ryan's okay," he said happily. "It was a little bit of a naughty challenge really on a youngster but that is the game and that's the league we are going to be in.

"It's more of an impact than a dead leg but then again he's 17-years-old there's nothing to gain by risking anything.

"We will get him off, patch him up and I'm sure he will be good for Monday."

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