Bedford Town boss Gary Setchell's positive despite pre-season losses​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Bedford Town boss Gary Setchell says he’s keen for his Eagles squad to learn from their pre-season defeats as they prepare for the start of the new SPL Central season in just over a week’s time.

The last two pre-season friendlies have seen Bedford beaten 6-0 by Hemel Hempstead Town last week and then 4-1 by National League side Wealdstone on Saturday.

And although both Hemel and Wealdstone play at a higher level, Setchell told Eagles TV after the Hemel game that matches such as those, and potentially a few others as his side begins life in a new division, can be expected.

He said: "We know where we’re at and that this season’s going to be not so much a learning year but one where we might take one or two beatings, although we might also give out a couple if we can be ultra-competitive.

"We’re still trying to find our feet and have had one or two good results and performances in pre-season, then against Hemel Hempstead we had an absolute shocker which we have to learn from.

"We’ve got a few injuries in the squad and while none of them are long-term injuries, the concern is they’re missing valuable minutes.

"Of those, a couple are suspended for the first one or two games so we’ll be looking to get them fit and have other players that can drop into their positions.

"If we have to bring one or two in then that’s what we’ll do. We’ve got to have a team fit for purpose on August 6.”

One player who has signed for the Eagles is Jack Keeble, a player Setchell has managed in the past at Wisbech Town.

The boss said: “Jack’s a good player – young, energetic, very honest and can play various positions.

"I managed him for a season before and he was outstanding, always gave 100 per cent and is as brave as a lion. He can also play centre-half, full-back or midfield and the way he plays I can see him being a big favourite here.”

Bedford will go to AFC Dunstable to face a team who were both local and divisional rivals last season, but a home game with Luton Town U23s due to take place next Tuesday night has been cancelled.

The Southern Premier League Central season starts with a trip to Warwickshire to face Stratford Town on Saturday, August 6.