JASON Matthews insists his Weymouth squad are “making strides to where we want to be” in their pre-season preparations this season, as they go into their first friendly of the summer at home against Exeter City this evening (7.45pm).

The Terras’ boss has been impressed by the application shown by his squad in training so far, as well as a couple of trialists, who are also set to get game time against the Grecians.

“The standard and the fitness of the boys has been excellent,” said Matthews, who is not expected to play in goal against his former club tonight.

“The boys are buying into what we are trying to do and I am really pleased with the way people are fitting in. We are making strides to where we want to be.

“It will be a massive test with Exeter set to bring their full squad, which is really good.

“They were my only professional contract and I have extremely fond memories at Exeter. I had some fantastic times when I played for them.

“We are looking forward to playing them and it will be nice to see some of our new faces in, as well as a couple of trialists.”

Winger Dan Smith, who has previously been at both Dorchester and the Terras, is set to turn out as a trialist, as is former Poole Town, Aldershot and Dorchester keeper Dan Thomas. Matthews also hinted that some other players he is casting an eye over may also get minutes.

The Terras’ boss, who featured as a substitute for Exeter against Everton in the FA Cup in December 1999, said: “I want to look at the trialists we have got in, so they will play a good part of the game.

“Dan Thomas has been at every training session and he has impressed me.

“We will see how he does in the games and, as I said before, if somebody came along who was better than me I would not be afraid to step aside.

“There is only one way to find that out and that is to play him in games, we will get to have a good look at him over the next week or so and, if it suits both parties, he will sign.”

One negative for the Terras’ boss is that he may be lacking striking options ahead of the contest. Sam Jordan (foot), Ben Thomson (calf) and Stewart Yetton (illness) are all doubtful.

The friendly also marks Football League outfit Exeter’s first game of pre-season.

Speaking ahead of the clash against the Terras, boss Paul Tisdale told the Exeter Express & Echo: “Weymouth is a case of getting players on the pitch and giving them time, as we’re certainly not at the stage yet of putting the structure of the play in place.

“It’s a very simple case of getting as many players on the pitch as we can and giving them a taste of match play again, so I wouldn’t read too much into the team or how we play or anything like that.”

Dorset Echo

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