Sutton United manager Paul Doswell is preparing for the long haul as the Blue Square South season draws closer.
The Us face Southampton’s U21 development squad tonight (Thursday) before their final pre-season friendly at Met Police on Saturday.
Although Doswell knows 10 of the 11 players who will take to the field at Basingstoke for the league’s curtain raiser on August 18, he insists concentrating on who will be in the starting line-up is unwise.
He said: “People get very excited and concentrate on the first game, but there are 42 league games in the season so I wouldn’t get too vexed about who is in the starting 11 because all 16 will make a contribution.
“With cup games it can be a 55-game season and there is no way 11 players can get near that so the whole squad is very important.
“But everyone gets excited about the first game.
“But it doesn’t matter really because there’s another game on the Tuesday.”
Saints are expected to bring four first team players from last season, including Ben Reeves, Ryan Dickson and Lee Barnard.
Doswell said: “It’s great that Southampton can bring a team up to us. I know Les Reed, the technical director there, and he phoned last week to confirm it. It will give us another game under our belts.”