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Cherries: Moss is on the ball for Daggers visit
NEIL Moss is vowing to help Cherries’ goalkeepers get to grips with the FA Cup ball in a bid to ensure no repeat of previous high-profile problems.
Cherries will begin their cup campaign when League Two outfit Dagenham & Redbridge visit Goldsands Stadium in the first round tomorrow (3pm).
The Dorset club’s goalkeeping coach Moss has been an outspoken critic of the balls used in the competition in each of the past two seasons.
Moss led the protests against the Umbro Neo Pro last term after Darryl Flahavan and Paulo Gazzaniga both had issues with its movement during the clash between Cherries and Gillingham.
That came after former Cherries number one Moss had delivered a cutting critique of the Umbro Hi-Vis NeoSpark – the orange ball labelled the pumpkin – after Shwan Jalal and Joe Collister had struggled to keep it out in Cherries’ 5-3 win over Tranmere in the 2010-11 season.
Mitre balls are used in league matches but the Umbro Neo 2 Pro will take centre stage in the FA Cup tomorrow.
Moss believes changing footballs causes problems but he admits keepers must move with the times.
Speaking before he had used the cup ball in training, Moss told the Daily Echo: “I am writing down all sorts of different sessions to try to hit the ball in as many different ways as I can, with all sorts of dip, spin, high and low and all the rest of it, just to see if we can try to get to grips with it.
“I have said for the past two seasons that I am not a big fan of not just those balls, but of changing the footballs all the time.
“I think that it causes havoc but it is one of those things we have got to deal with. I will certainly be putting on some drills for the keepers to try to get them as used to an erratic ball as we possibly can.”
Moss added: “The lighter the ball, the more the ball wobbles around.
“We are in an era now where some of the forwards have changed their entire way of striking a ball.
“Before, you had to hit it cleanly and try to get it in the corners to try to get it away from the goalkeepers. But, now, you put your foot through it and you can really generate some erratic flight, which makes the ball impossible to catch and very difficult to save.
“It is the way the game is going. The balls get lighter year on year so, as goalkeepers and goalkeeper coaches, we have just got to evolve with it.”
On their official website, Umbro say the Neo 2 Pro is “built to go where it should”. The Umbro website adds: “Crafted from 14 hand-stitched panels to provide a greater strike zone, the Neo Pro has a Teijin outer casing which offers improved touch and control.”