Kevin Blackwell looks forward to the start of pre-season“So far, I am really pleased with how pre-season has gone. The structure has been excellent and the players have really been working exceptionally hard. We’ve gone through 31 trialists now and have whittled it down to one or two, which is what we thought would happen. The staff has been excellent, the response from the fans has been excellent and it’s just been good.
It’s very structured and organised and I know a lot of the fans that have been down to watch have said that they never seen anything like this. This is the work that I have always done. Teams that I have had in the past have always been very well organised and structured, and very fit. The lads have found it hard, but it’s been structured so the lads can see where it is going, which is important.
We have tried to make sure that every session is slightly different to the last session. The lads are doing double sessions every day, and have done every day. The afternoon session is completely different to the morning session. The morning session is different from the previous afternoon. We keep it changed but focussed.
We played on Tuesday in what was supposed to be a behind closed doors friendly. I knew it was being beamed to live TV in Romania, but I didn’t know it was live on the internet. It surprised me when a few people told me they had watched the game. It gave the fans the opportunity to look at the trialists, and for us it was a great opportunity to look at the players under stiffer conditions to see who stood out.
The game made a few easy decisions for us, there were a few going onto a flight home soon after the game, but we have to thank them because they have worked exceptionally hard. We are trying to set a standard, but at this particular time, they didn’t quite reach it. That doesn’t mean they won’t reach it in the future.
It’s the first real game on Saturday at Radcliffe Borough and I will be playing the contracted players initially. Most will get 45 or 50 minutes. Now it’s about accruing playing time up until the 3rd of August. That’s the target, not the pre-season games - the target is Chesterfield, so the preparatory work starts on Saturday.
The structure on how we train and how we do it is a tried and tested formula. We have to get every starting player around 300 minutes game time between now and the Chesterfield game.
With everything that is going on here at the moment, I think we will have a fair few fans at Radcliffe on Saturday. It will be a mixture of lads that have signed, some trialists will be involved, but the fans will have a good look a t the players and the trialists. We know we have to sign four or five more before the start of the season.
We have a big step up on Wednesday evening with Club Brugge coming to Gigg Lane. We took the game because it was an attractive fixture. They came last week and Ronnie Jepson showed them around the ground, it will be big and an enjoyable experience for us all.
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