Manager gives his first interview since Fleetwood returned for pre-season
Graham Alexander insists the hard work starts now after he and his staff welcomed the Fleetwood Town players back for pre-season as preparations got underway for the Club’s first season in Sky Bet League One.
The squad came in later than first scheduled after securing their promotion through the Play-Offs last season, but there will be no settling in period after Town finalised their gruelling pre-season plan.
On Thursday, Fleetwood will travel to North Wales to face Colwyn Bay, before flying out to the Austrian mountains of Obertraun for the second consecutive year for their annual training camp
“It’s not even started yet,” Alexander jokingly remarked. “We like to think we work them hard but give them the right recuperation inbetween and the staff and myself have done this a lot ourselves.
“We felt last season that we had a fit squad right through to the end of the season. They have come back in good shape, but pre-season is hard work and there is no getting away from that.
“I always found as a player that it’s tough coming back into pre-season without a game.
“It’s the games that players love and we incorporated a really early fixture last year when we played Northwich Victoria.
“We used at as part of the training day, we don’t give them any time to recover before or after it, it’s part of the training session.
“It’s a competitive game, it gets them back into the habit of getting the kit on and the shin pads and so forth.
“It gives them something to look forward to early on, but they will only play 45 minutes maximum and it gives the new lads the chance to play with their new team mates and get a good look at them.”
The Town squad has so far welcomed three new additions to the team – Danny Andrew, Keith Southern and Jamie Proctor – and Town’s manager has admitted that he is looking recruit ‘one or two’ more players to finalise his squad for the upcoming campaign.
“When new players come to a Club the squad is really welcoming. They’re good lads in their own right and they have come into a squad that knows each other really well and that has bonded from last season.
“We are still looking (to add more players), we are still looking and we think need maybe one or two to bolster the squad because it is going to be long season.
“We don’t want to keep players for the sake of it, they have to be competitive for the first-team, but at this stage of the season, like every other Club, we are looking to see if we can improve.
“We have got full confidence in the quality of the squad at the moment, but if somebody becomes available who we think can give us an extra five or ten per cent then we will look to pursue it.”
Conor McLaughlin will return to pre-season training on Monday after being given an extra week off due to his International commitments at the end of the season, whilst Jeff Hughes has trained on his own thus far.
The 29-year-old Irish midfielder underwent further surgery at the end of the season, but despite the setback, Alexander is hopeful Hughes will be fit come the start of the season.
“He (Jeff Hughes) had a set back right at the end of last season, he had to get a little more surgery done, which was really disappointing.
“We thought we were going to have him back for the Play-Offs, but we are really hopeful that he will be ready for the start of the season.
“He’s working hard out there on his own and he has great staff looking after him and we are sure he will be fit as soon as he can be.”
Visit the Club website later in the week to find out more news on our trip to Austria.