CONCORD Rangers boss Danny Scopes feels tonight’s pre-season friendly with Southend United will be perfect preparation for Saturday’s FA Trophy semi-final against Halesowen Town.

The Beach Boys will make Wembley if they win their delayed final four clash this weekend.

But Scopes believes lining up against Blues will be a big help for his side.

“We have to get the balance right but it’s a good game for us and will be good to get our heads out of pre-season,”said Scopes.

“Southend are coming with quite a strong squad and that will give us a chance to work on things without the ball which is important. We’ll be putting things in place that we can take into Saturday’s game.

“It’s a good test for us and it will get us focused on the weekend too.”

The Beach Boys initially feared their chance of reaching Wembley had gone when last season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the squad are now gearing up for the clash having worked hard in training.

“We came back early because we thought the season was going to start earlier and we had the FA Trophy game we didn’t know what was happening with either,” said Scopes.

“But the season got pushed back so we had a bit of a break and we’ve been back four weeks now.

“We did some functional stuff before then but we needed that break because if you stretch pre-season over 10 or 11 weeks it can be too much.”

Concord were beaten 4-1 by Peterborough Sports at the weekend and now face another tough test against the Shrimpers this evening.

However, their main goal remains Saturday’s clash with Halesowen, which Scopes thought might never actually be played.

“I was hopeful at the start but the longer it went on and when we started to change our squad around for the new season I had almost written it off to be honest,” said Scopes.

“I thought it had gone really and I was putting all my focus into a new season and pre-season.

“It’s come around quite quickly now and we just have to accept it’s a bonus for us.

“If you offered this to any non-league club in their pre-season schedule whatever the timing or whatever players could actually play I’m sure they would take it.

“That’s what we’ve said to the boys and it’s a massive achievement for us to get into the semi-final of a national competition.

“It’s a bit abnormal to playing it in pre-season but it’s still a good opportunity.

“It’s something we thought had gone and we just have to go and give it everything we’ve got now and see where it takes us.

“If we win then we’ll worry about the final and if we don’t we’ll drop back into pre-season and focus on that.”

>Tonight's game is behind closed doors.