Nicholls and Moore have stepped up their game since last season

Lee Nicholls
Lee Nicholls

Stuart Moore and Lee Nicholls are better goalkeepers than they were 12 months ago, according to their coach Mel Gwinnett.

Both stoppers were given first team action last season, with Moore replacing Nicholls during February and March when his form dipped.

Stepping up to League One, Gwinnett has admitted the door is open for Moore to take over as number one choice in goal, but says both keepers have improved since he arrived at the club last year.

He said: "Their understanding of the role is better, because they're more involved than just the goalkeeping side. We trust them to make good decisions, they aren't instructed.

"From last year, I think Lee has improved in all aspects of his game since last year. I knew of Stuart, he has come in, and he is improving too. At this level, they generally do not have 'weaknesses' but it's a case of improving them personally but also as part of the team structure."

Gwinnet's role as first team coach sees him concentrating largely on the goalkeeping unit, but says the whole squad has returned in excellent shape for the new season - a stark contrast to his playing days.

Stuart Moore with George Williams

Stuart Moore with George Williams

"I remember when I played, if you hadn't put on half a stone, you were OK! Nowadays, the players get personalised programmes over the summer, and we trust them to do that.

"The lads have come back in fine shape, we've got competition for places, the new lads have come in very sharp – all very good so far. We put on a few ball-work sessions during the summer which they are welcome to come along to, and we had a lot of take-up on that too. They have been ultra professional.

"The ball has been out very early, we trust them to have a certain fitness level when they come back, so they can get straight into ball-work, and they've come back as we expected and better."