Manager David Flitcroft explains the philosophy behind pre-season games and the trip to Portugal next week...
The Shakers will have no pre-season games at Gigg Lane this season. As problems with the pitch at Gigg Lane increased over the season, both ground staff and management decided that the best course of action was to give the surface as much time as possible to get the pitch right ahead of the new EFL Sky Bet League One season, as the gaffer explains in an exclusive interview with ShakersPlayer HD earlier this week.
“We are not playing a home game in pre-season this year and that’s intentional. With the problems we had with the pitch last season we wanted to give it the best possible chance to really recover.” said Flitcroft.
The gaffer continued by explaining the thought process behind the decision. He said: “Having spoken to grounds manager Gareth Lester this week, the pitch is really knitting together now and it’s all coming along quite nicely but there was the chance of us playing one game on there over the summer and potentially tearing the whole thing up again.
“It’s something that we certainly discussed and we said to give it another two weeks. At the time we didn’t have a home game and now we can look at it and say that not playing at Gigg Lane in pre-season has definitely turned into the right decision for us”.
He continued: “You can never second guess on the pitch when you are planning a pre-season and we’ve been planning these games for probably three months now. The Blackburn and Morecambe tournament was planned a long time ago and we had to fit this in and around what they are doing at Morecambe.”
. The Gaffer will also be utilising the Carrington training ground complex for a series of behind closed door games against various local sides in the coming weeks.hereDespite not using Gigg Lane, the Shakers do feature in a series of games around the North West during the month of July. A full list of pre-season games can be found
“Having the Carrington training complex has given us the opportunity to have more behind closed door games and it’s important that we have enough games.” said Flitcroft. He also confirmed one game against Wigan whilst in Portugal next week by saying: “We’ve also organised one out in Portugal against Wigan Athletic, who are out there, at a different training venue, which will be a good game for us against a fantastic opposition.”
With the Shakers heading off to Portugal at the weekend for a week’s intensive training, the gaffer warned his players that this will be no holiday in the sun and explained the process and planning that had gone into the six-day training programme.
“Portugal, next week, will not be a holiday for the lads, this is a week’s intense training. It sometimes gets lost in the wash just how difficult it will be for the lads. The first year we did a diary of what it was all about. The Chairman has come on the last two trips and he certainly understands what the lads have got to go through.
“The early starts, the late finishes. The last session starts at 6:45pm every evening because of the heat and the lads will on the training ground until half past eight, then they're in the ice baths and they are not eating until around 9:15pm.
“We’ve also got two really early starts on the trip with morning running followed by breakfast, then a football session. It’s a stimulus that benefits us when you bring new players in and even the old players that have been here for a few years now, it’s something we need. We’ve changed the venue for that reason. We’ve gone to Tenerife with the same players and done the same things. They get to know it and almost take it for granted.
“This is a new facility, with different drills that we are going to utilise with them. There is an indoor gym which is a great area that we can use plus some big sandpits that we can use as well. It’s all a new stimulus, new drills, new delivery and new execution and it’s important for us going into a new season.”
Official YouTube page., we’ve also placed a teaser video from the same interview on our ShakersPlayer HDWatch the full interview with the Gaffer on