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Neil Barrett lauds Basingstoke Town manager Jason Bristow's passing plan
MIDFIELDER Neil Barrett says Jason Bristow’s plan to get Basingstoke Town playing a passing game has been a “breath of fresh air”.
The former Portsmouth, Dundee, York and Ebbsfleet man has spent the last few years in non-league, helping Ebbsfleet to FA Trophy glory in 2008. Returning to the passing game he learned as a trainee at Chelsea has taken some getting used to, but has clearly bought in to Bristow’s philosophy.
“I think what the manager is trying to do is fantastic and I am loving training and the games,” Barrett said. “It’s a real breath of fresh air for the whole squad and we are all enjoying it.
“I had been used to playing a certain way over the past couple of years but I spoke to the manager before I joined and he told me that he wanted to keep the ball on the floor. That might take me a bit of time to adjust to because I have not played that way for so long.”
Despite losing two of their last three games, Town have enjoyed a good start to the season and sit fourth in the Conference South table after six games.
However, Barrett believes the side are yet to reach their full potential, admitting that the change in style has played a part in that.
“We have a few new players and the way we are trying to play this season is a bit different to last season,” he said. “It might take a bit of time to adapt to that and we are not always going to get things our own way. We have good patches in games though and it’s up to us to make sure they last longer.
“We know we have not played very well but we have been picking up points. That is not a bad habit to have but if we play the way we know we can then things will get easier.
“It’s difficult to say what we can achieve because we have not played to the levels we know we can yet. I would like to be involved right to the end of the season, pushing for the play-offs, and I do not think that is beyond us, having seen some of the other teams.”
Barrett is looking forward to coming up against former club Ebbsfleet United on Saturday – but he admits that the Kent club’s massive change in personnel over the summer mean he will not be able to offer his teammates much in the way of inside information.
“It’s a very different team to the one I played in,” the 31-year-old said. “I think they only retained four players from last year.
“The calibre of players they have brought in is good though and I have no doubt they will be up there at the end of the season. That makes it a big game, even though we are still in September.
“It’s one I am looking forward to but I will not treat it any differently to any other game. We need to get three points to stay near the top of the table.”
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