Below is my debut piece for GetWestLondon, written after Barnet’s 3-1 victory over MK Dons in a pre-season friendly at The Hive, yesterday:
Martin Allen heaped praise on John Akinde as his first-half hat-trick led Barnet to an impressive 3-1 victory over Championship newboys MK Dons.
The striker opened the scoring after just 11 seconds on Saturday and Allen told GetWestLondon that his attitude during pre-season had been ‘spot on’.
And whilst the Bees boss admits there may be interest in his prized asset, who bagged 31 league goals in 45 games last season, it won’t be until he ‘rips the pants off them next season.’
Allen went on: “John Akinde will be on fire, there’s no doubt about that.
“I think it (the return to professional football) was a bit of a wake-up call for him really…he has stepped up and looks happy to be playing for Barnet.”
Simon Church scored an equaliser for Karl Robinson’s men two minutes into the game but the big striker struck twice more and the Bees’ boss said that the win was fully deserved.
He added: “They started very well and were very sharp – as you would expect for a Championship club. We found it difficult to get close to them in the first few minutes but then we settled into our way of playing.”
Allen noted that he was ‘disappointed’ to concede so quickly but added: “All the players are really honest and they all work really hard for each other so that’s the sort of rewards they get.
“We’ve got a good squad of players. I promised them that if they all worked hard, they would all play; now everybody has got a good run-out and everybody has done well.”
And despite having a full squad to choose from, he made it clear that the starting line-up for the opening game against Leyton Orient on August 8 was yet to be decided.
“Kevin Lisbie is up to speed now; Stacky (Graham Stack) should be fit for next Saturday. I know all these players will play in the first week – we’ve got three games.
“People have been brought here to play and not just to hang around.”
Allen refused to comment on the speculation regarding deals for trialist goalkeeper Ashlee Jones but stated that he was ‘not sure what the chairman has sorted out’ regarding a deal for defender Michael Nelson.
However, he did confirm that the club had arranged their pre-season ‘trip’: “All these clubs are going abroad on all these great trips. On Tuesday we’ve got our trip to run around the Serpentine at Hyde Park!”
The story can also be found here.