Iron manager Graham Alexander says the start of pre-season has been a long time coming, but stated the hard work leading up to the first match of the season at home to Bristol Rovers begins now.United returned to training on Tuesday as they began their preparations for the big kick-off on August 6th, and in Alexander’s eyes it’s all about pushing the squad he has to the maximum.
Alexander told The Iron PlayerHD: “For me it’s been a long summer.
“The players deserved a good break after the excursions of last season. The butterflies started last week when we got the fixtures, and that was the first step towards the season starting.
“They’re going to be doing some fitness testing, various exercises and running sessions to assess their level of fitness.
“It won’t be until Wednesday that we get the full squad together and out on to the training pitch with the running, games and the technical stuff. The next few weeks will be tough, but we’ve got really motivated and fit players - so it’s important we challenge them.”
Alexander also highlighted the importance of hitting the ground running early, as he believes this to be one of the key components to a successful campaign.
“Pre-season is tough, it has to be tough because you have to put a good base down for the rest of the season. To play 50 games over the course of ten months, you have to be physically ready,” he stated.
“If you miss pre-season or you have a poor pre-season, it could affect the rest of your season as an individual and ultimately as a team.”
The Iron manager insisted attaining the right fitness levels is the priority over the course of pre-season, and he says he won’t be reading too much into the results of United’s matches.
For him it’s all about the end product which will become evident over the ten month season.
“I don’t put too much emphasis on results in pre-season - I think they’re irrelevant. I’ve been there as both a player and a manager where you’ve got great results and started poorly and had poor results and started well,” he added.
“It’s all about the first game of the season, so the first six weeks, the pre-season games, they’re just preparation for the real thing.
“We might win some games in pre-season and I might still not be happy, because of fitness levels or performance levels. So I know what I’m looking for from the players, because I know what it takes to play well for over 50 games.”
See much more from Graham Alexander and strength and conditioning coach Adam Hearn on The Iron PlayerHD.
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