The first-team reported back for pre-season training on Monday and Manager Keith Hill says he is really happy with the condition they have come back in.
He told Dale Player: “We’ve had two difficult days, both physically and mentally, but the players have come back in a good condition and a condition that is prepared for the hard work ahead which becomes easier almost because of that. That means we can start concentrating on our strategies, our possession, our goal scoring and our defending. It is a question of just keeping moving and wheel forward as we move into the rest of pre-season and the season ahead.
“Every single one of the lads has come back in a really good condition, but now it is down to testing the players mentally through physical conditioning.”
Hill also admits that pre-season is important for setting down a marker for the season ahead in terms of what he expects from the players and the type of ethos is he looking for now, for the whole of the 2013/14 campaign and beyond. He was quick to use the following analogy to describe how important pre-season planning and preparation is.
“The way you start is important. It’s like going on a car journey to Plymouth or Cornwall or Scotland, you’ve got to be prepared and in good shape first and foremost. The wife has got to pack the sandwiches and the kids have got to be in the kid seats. You’ve got plan for that journey to be as comfortable as you can be and legislate for anything that might go wrong, like a flat tyre for example.
“So everything we’re doing at this moment in time is planning for a footballing journey of 46 games plus. The players are responsible for part of that planning and I’m really pleased with the condition they’ve come back in and the enthusiasm, the energy of seeing fresh faces and competition for places.”
You can listen to the full interview on Dale Player now.