More intense training and the footballs come outEat, sleep, train repeat.
That’s been the schedule for Fleetwood Town’s squad today as they were put through what is expected to be their toughest day of the week here in Holland.
Each evening coach Barry Nicholson writes the itinerary for the following day on a board placed in the dining room of the hotel the group are based at this week.
It lets the players know what they’ll be doing and where they have to be at what time, well today Barry almost filled the whole sheet.
The sessions started with an 8am run around the forest in which our hotel is based, nothing too strenuous for professionals already a couple of weeks into a pre-season schedule, sadly the same can’t be said for some of the staff.
All of the staff took part in the run, and it’s fair to say a couple of the ‘non football’ employees found the going tough, sadly there was nowhere to hide.
At the front of the run was Nicholson and first team coach Neil MacFarlane, and behind were six players on bikes who were recovering from slight knocks or, due to long standing conditions struggle to run on hard ground.
Either way, there was nowhere to hide!
Once that was out the way, and breakfast, the players headed up to the pitches to start the first of two very tough sessions.
A physical running session ended with three eight minutes games during which the players were expected to give everything - by now the temperature was already touching 28 degrees.
It was good to see Aaron Holloway taking part for the first time since arriving at the club, an injury picked up at the end of last season meant he has had to be eased into things, but he finally joined in to play a full part - he scored two of his side’s three goals in the games and looked sharp.
He was to sit out the afternoon sessions, it isn’t the time to be taking any chances with injured players.
After lunch the players had a few hours off, and most took the time to get in some well earned rest.
Others decided to head into the village to grab some snacks, it’s about a 15 minute bike ride away, this hotel really is as remote as they come.
The afternoon was no easier on the players, with another running drill welcoming them back onto the pitches.
It ended with a defence verses attack drill aimed at working on the defensive mentality of the players, by now they were tired but the squad deserve real credit for the way they dug-in and got through it.
Dinner was served at 7pm after a very long day, before defenders, midfielders and attackers split into groups to go through a video analysis session with the manger.
It’s all work in the bank for the coming season, but this was as tough a day as the players will have.
This certainly isn’t a holiday!