Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard expressed his excitement ahead of Thursday, when his side take on an Arsenal XI in a showcase friendly, that will official open the club’s Premier League standard, million pound Desso pitch and surrounding features.

An Arsenal XI featuring the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson are all likely to grace Meadow Park on Thursday, July 27 (7.30pm) for the Wood’s penultimate pre-season friendly.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Garrard declared: “I am very excited, they are going to bring a competitive under-23s squad, with a number of first team players, the likes of of Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy will be here and that is very exciting.

“We are used to that year-on-year with the Arsenal XI coming here and I think that it is going to be a special occasion because it is the official opening of the pitch.

“It is massive to have Arsene Wenger here, and the FA Cup is coming as well, so it is going to be a chance for us to put on a showcase for them.”

With just two matches to go until the 2017/18 campaign officially kicks off on Saturday, August 5, the 31-year-old asserted that it will be key for the players to lock-horns with such a strong side.

He continued: “It is going to be very competitive, I can see them coming here to dominate the ball and I can see it very much being like the Luton Town game.

“They are full of Internationals, so it is going to be quick, it is going to be fast and they are going to be comfortable when it comes to possession.

“I think that it is going to be an amazing workout for the boys and I am just looking forward to seeing two side go at it come Thursday.”

With the pitch reconstructions taking precedence this summer, the Wood have spent most of pre-season on their travels, and Garrard explained why he believes that this will actually have benefitted his squad.

“It is quite foreign to me to have a pre-season playing the likes of Biggleswade and Hemel Hempstead, we are used to having West Ham, Luton, Brentford, Arsenal and Watford, so a lot of the time is spent without the ball.

“This year we have done a lot of work with the ball and if you look at it, I believe we have scored 17 goals in just a five-game period, so it does bode well and that has been massive in terms of what I wanted to look at in the summer.

“It has taught us a lot about how we are going to get on the front foot and how we are going to attack teams. I am hopeful that if we continue doing what we are doing then we can get on the front foot and look to score more goals than we have done in the previous couple of years.”

The club’s partnership with Arsenal has recently been extended by 10-years and the Boreham Wood manager attempted to sum up just how special this relationship is.

“Our partnership with Arsenal is huge, I have been here 10-years and they have been ever present. If you look at the development sides and the women’s team coming here and I think that it is just a massive, massive plus for the club.

“You just have to look at the facilities that we have got in place now and I only hope that it continues to grow because I think that the partnership has worked, especially for a club our size, it bodes well.”