Graham Alexander admits he has been counting down the days to get his players back in for training as he takes charge of his first pre-season as a manager.
The Fleetwood Town squad returned to full training on Wednesday after undergoing fitness tests the week before, but whilst they had been away on their summer breaks, Alexander had been hard at work preparing to get his players in the best shape possible for the new season.
The 41-year-old has been left impressed by how his players have responded since their return and is encouraged by the high team spirit amongst his squad.
There was the five summer signings as well as the new first year professionals that was amongst the new faces this week and they were all welcomed with open arms by their new team-mates.
“It’s going very well, the lads are really equipping themselves well to the work that has been put in front of them.” Alexander said, “The lads are bonding; obviously we have a few new faces and couple of lads who have signed professional forms from our own youth set-up. It is really good, they are all pushing each other on and the work ethic has been fantastic.”
Alexander admits that pre-season is not the most enjoyable period as a footballer but says it is crucial to re-building fitness ahead of the clubs second season in the Football League.
Alexander also joked that his players haven’t moaned too much since returning to training and have done everything that has been asked of them and have encouraged each other.
“It is never the most enjoyable time for a professional footballer but we are all professionals and we know the work has to be done to be competitive. They are not moaning to much……. Yet. It is apart of the course so I think moaning gets you through it, but they have all done everything exactly that has been asked of them.
“Obviously there are different levels of fitness throughout the squad, which you will get in any squad, but we’re monitoring their heart rates so we know each individual is working to their maximum and that’s the most we can ask of them and that will improve their fitness over the next month or so.
“I always found it as a player that when you are coming back even though the work is hard, it was great to get back into the swing of things with the team and been in with the banter. The lads have been really good and have been encouraging each other with the hard work during training, then getting on like a house on fire off it.
It is great for team spirit.”
Alexander said he was ‘buzzing’ to be back out on the field with his players doing what he loves and also gave a special mention to his backroom staff for the professional standards they have also shown in helping the players improve.
“I have been waiting for this week for the last month and counting off the days because a lot of the work I have been doing during the summer has been the business side of it. Ask any manager or coach and it is being out on the pitch with the players that is the bit that we most enjoy.
“I couldn’t wait for the squad to be in and getting back down to work because that is what we all love. We all love the actual game of football and that is what we are getting down to now. I am absolutely buzzing, the staff around me are fantastic, they are taking the responsibilities of what they do really seriously and to a professional standard to encourage the players to get to better levels and that is what we want to do as a club.”