Arsenal kick off their pre-season friendlies against Barnet on Saturday at Underhill at 3pm.
Ahead of the game, Arsenal.com spoke to Bees manager Paul
Fairclough about his side's approach to the game, his scouting
past under Arsène Wenger and his bid to sign Ray Parlour.
Here's the first half of this two-part interview. Remember
tickets are still available for the game. It is also
streamed live on Arsenal TV Online.
Firstly Paul, how have pre-season preparations gone for Barnet?
Well, we came back last Wednesday and have been in every day apart from Sunday when we played a cricket game at the local cricket club. That was good fun and broke the training up.
What is your side like this season?
It is a new team with lots of new players. As for the new faces, we have Neal Bishop, who was player of the season at York City. Then there is Max Porter, a young midfielder from Bishop's Stortford, Michael Leary who was at Luton, and Anthony Thomas, a quick forward who played at Hemel Hempstead. We have been looking at other players as well.
What about that story linking you with Ray Parlour. What is the truth behind that?
We lost several senior figures in the summer. I had Andy Hessenthaler, Paul Warhurst and Ian Hendon last season. However the first two have gone and Ian Hendon has become assistant manager. So I was after a leading person on the pitch. I was aware that Ray was available and we made contact. He was at the stage where he was considering offers and, to be honest, he still is.
I understand he was training with Arsenal last season. It would have been a good link with Ray and a good opportunity to get back down to London. I don't know if he has aspirations to become a coach but it would have been a good opportunity to keep that eye in as well.
We have not given up on but I think that Ray has other options higher than Barnet. So we'll have to sit and wait to see what happens with that one.
Is there a chance he could sign for Barnet before Saturday? Would the prospect of Arsenal entice him?
I would not have thought so but there is always an option to give him a call. Ian Hendon is the one who is in contact. He could give him a call and tempt him to play. It could be on, you never know? We could play that card.
Where does this game fit in Barnet's preparations? With respect there is big gap between the sides so what can you gain from it?
This is a fans' day. It is chance to see the Premiership stars when the Barnet fans don't get the opportunity every Saturday and it is a chance for the Arsenal fans to perhaps see some of their new players.
Obviously we will learn. You can do that just from the movement and the passing of the players. And, of course, the scoreline can be quite dramatic. It was not so long ago that we got beaten 10-1. I remember we actually went 1-0 up and it was like prodding a hornets' nest. But it did not do us any harm because we went on that year to win the Conference and get back into the Football League. Last year was a close game too. It depends what side Arsenal bring but their movement is always a joy to watch.
Have you any indication of the side that Arsenal will put out?
I have spoken to the Club and I'll have an indication later this week.
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