THE 1874 COLUMN – by Matt Waters

WITH the announcement that pre-season friendlies can now take place at our level, I caught up with our record goalscorer Scott McGowan to see how preparations are going ahead of the new season.

One thing that Scott made clear was that the intensity must rise ahead of our first competitive match in the FA Cup on September 1.

“As the sessions have built up the past few weeks, we’ve seen the quality of them rise too,” the Greens striker said.

“Now that contact training can take place, we’ve been able to do a lot more work on our shape and working on the way we play.

“For us players, we have to expect the intensity to rise and improve over the next few weeks because we have to ready to play whenever the league gives us the green light to play again.”

Scott revealed to me that being back around the players has given them all a boost and also a reminder of what’s at stake.

“The mood is great at the moment, we’ve all been a bit deflated with one thing and another but seeing each other the past few weeks has given us a massive boost,” he said.

“Being back in training has picked us all up again, we know what’s at stake and we know what we have to do to not just replicate last season but to go even further.

“We’ve all bought into the club and we can’t wait to get going again!”

The 2020/21 season will be Scott’s fourth full campaign with the club and he told me he’s determined to “finish what we started.”

“Since Wayne (Goodison) and Paul (Bowyer, 1874 co-managers) brought me back, I loved every minute of playing for the club,” he said.

“I want to achieve and finish what we’ve started. We should have been promoted last season so we have to make sure that we get what we deserve and achieve that.

“I make no bones about it – I love 1874. Coming into a fan owned club seeing how much it means to everybody is fantastic.

“It’s quite hard to find another club like 1874, whether it’s the coaching staff, the players, the fans especially Paul Stockton when I first joined, it’s just brilliant and I hope we can give them what they deserve.”

After scoring 130 goals for the club already, Scott continued the interview by telling me he wants to keep adding to that tally.

“We’re extremely lucky that we have such talented players all across the pitch that can all chip in with goals but as a striker, I like having that pressure of being expected to score,” he said.

“I feel like I play at my best when there is pressure on me to score and help us win matches.

“I’ve set myself a personal target for how many goals I want to score this season so I hope I can go on and achieve that.”