MALVERN Town co-manager Stephen Cleal admits defensive issues remain top of his list to correct in pre-season after the 4-3 defeat at Stourport Swifts on Saturday.

The Hillsiders had recovered from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with 10 minutes to play, but two goals from Swifts meant they slipped to a second defeat of pre-season. 

Cleal admitted now was the time to make mistakes ahead of the big season kick-off in a couple of weeks time.

"There were things we needed to highlight at half-time and second-half I thought we looked a lot better in what we are trying to do," said Cleal. 

"That's exactly what pre-season is all about. We knew Swifts were going to be a decent side and they're often very good at home and it was a good challenge for us.

"We would rather see the sort of mistakes we made in pre-season rather than when the league campaign starts but it's all learning. 

"We are always a threat going forward and that's important. For me, it's about how we can be better defensively. 

"Again, we brought four or five new lads into the squad for this game and again a couple of trialists so they won't be as fluent in the way we are trying to do things but it was a good work-out.

"It was a good game of football and it was entertaining for those watching on. We have got good minutes into the lads and got some good information across to them and that's what we wanted so we are happy overall."

Malvern have had a full week on the training pitch to try and put some things right this week ahead of their Saturday afternoon match with Step 3 side Stourbridge FC at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium. (15:00 kick-off). 

They then have games with Hereford and Cheltenham Town as they wrap up their pre-season campaign and approach their first competitive game of 2023/24 when they play Rugby Town in the extra-preliminary round of the FA Cup (Saturday, August 5).