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Alexander's team news ahead of first friendly

7 July 2017

Manager Graham Alexander has provided an update ahead of the first friendly of pre-season, away at North Ferriby United on Saturday.

Ticket details can be seen here ahead of the match against the National League North side, managed by ex-United midfielder Steve Housham.

A week and a half into Scunthorpe’s pre-season training programme, iFollow Iron sat down to speak with the boss about progress so far.

GA: It’s going really well. The players have come back in good shape and have really thrown themselves into the work we’ve put forward for them. They’ve looked good, and we’ve got the footballs out from day one. They’ve had tough days, and most of the days have seen us operate double sessions. We’ve had running sessions and worked in the gym too. We’ve got the work into them that we feel we needed to up to this point. We’ll increase it and then get ready for the later games in pre-season. It’s still hard work for the players but they’re doing ever so well. They realise what we’re about here, and the competitive nature of the squad. If you come back a little bit behind the other players you have to catch up pretty quickly or you find yourselves not in the team. The players who are a little bit behind are working extra to get up to speed, so we’re just looking forward to the game on Saturday now. It’s part of the training programme and an early taste for them of a matchday, but it’s always welcome as a player - you can’t wait to get to that first game.

GA: I think the first game always catches you out a little bit. No matter how well you’ve done so far, or how well you think you’ve looked after yourself over the summer, you always think you’re virtually ready to play and the first game tells you you’re not there yet. If the game is approached in the right way and at a good tempo they will realise they’re quite short of match fitness and sharpness, but this is part of the programme we’ve got. They always approach everything we put in front of them in the right way and I’m sure it’ll be the same for Saturday’s game.

GA: We don’t want to put players at risk of picking up injuries at this stage, so the plan is to play one team in the first half and one in the second. We’ll hopefully have enough players to do that. There are a couple of little niggles in the squad at the moment, as you always get at this time of year, after having six or seven weeks dormant. We’ll see how everyone is on Saturday morning. We will change the team at half-time anyway, even if it means including a couple of youth players who we’ve had train with us.

GA: Luke Williams will definitely miss the game, while Duane Holmes has a little twinge so he will probably miss it. We have two or three others who we’re hoping will train on Saturday morning and be ready for the game. If not, we’re not going to risk people at this stage. We’ll push them as hard as we can but within reason. If they miss out on Saturday, we’ll bring some youth players in to play, and hopefully they’ll be ready for the York game.

Luke Williams

GA: Luke has stepped it up and is out on the grass every day with the physios. We’re hoping he joins in with the football stuff next week at some point. He is obviously a bit behind the rest of the squad but we just have to make sure he doesn’t have a recurrence of the injury. He’s working hard, we’re assured of that by his work in the gym and when he runs past us he’s looking in good shape.

Duane Holmes

GA: Duane has a little twinge in his thigh. If we had a league game on Saturday he’d probably train on Friday and put himself forward but we don’t want to risk people at this stage. If it means coming out for two days and then coming back in, that’s more important than someone missing a big chunk of pre-season because that’s a scenario we want to avoid if possible.

GA: When we’re in the season we prepare for a match but we’re not doing that this Saturday, even though it is a match. I know Housh will do the same with his boys too. We’ll train a double session on Friday and then train on Saturday morning as well before going into the game. It’s all controlled and physical but we do see it as an extension of the training week. We’re looking for good habits, a good mentality and a good approach on the physical side.

GA: We’ll stay patient. We’ve made enquiries for a variety of players, but we probably only have two or three places we need to strengthen. We have enough to put out a good team now certainly, but we want to prepare the squad for the whole season. If we can get a couple of bodies in before we go to Austria, that will be a massive bonus, but we won’t sign anybody we don’t think is right just for the timing sake. We’ll make sure we get the right players in.

See much more from Graham Alexander on iFollow Iron.

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