Ashley Eastham is looking forward to the new season now more than ever following the release of Dale’s League One fixtures.
The fixtures were released by the Football League on Wednesday morning, with Keith Hill’s side set for an opening day clash against Peterborough United at Spotland.
The defender admits that it’s a tough start for the newly promoted side, but is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a great [opening fixture]," Ash told Dale Player. "I was travelling to training this morning when the fixtures were released and on getting here I had a look to see the opening day fixture and it’s brilliant. We couldn’t have a tougher start really but the lads are definitely buzzing for it. We’re all back in for pre-season soon and I know from speaking to a few of them that they’re all really looking forward to getting going.
“As well as the opening day fixture you tend to look at fixtures over the Christmas period and towards the end of the season when it gets really tough. We’re going to have to be strong, we’re going to have ups and down this season because it won’t be as easy as it was last season, but I’m definitely buzzing for it and I know the Gaffer is, so let’s see how we do!"
He continued: “I have been fortunate enough to have a taste of League One before and the good thing is that playing at these stadiums kicks you on an extra 10/20 percent in your performance. Playing at these big stadiums against decent teams is only going to makes us better and I’m sure we’re going to cope well at this level.”
Ashley, along with the majority of the squad, has been attending sessions throughout the close season to ensure he is ready for the demands of pre-season, and he reckons it’ll stand them in good stead.
“On and off we’ve been in a few times over the last three or four weeks. It’s not so much about the heart-rate levels or the fitness levels, it’s more about strength and conditioning work really, so weights, doing heavy lifting etc and then when we come back in a couple of weeks-time it’ll be the dreaded track days and then off to Tenerife.
“A lot of the lads did find it [the sessions in Tenerife] tough last season, but one thing for sure was that when we got back we felt really fit. We all enjoyed it out there – the weather was brilliant, the sessions were really good and the Gaffer made sure we were in perfect condition for the start of last season.”
The full interview with Ashley is available to watch on Dale Player.