Midfielder Mike Jones spoke this week about an enjoyable pre-season package following three days at Mottram Hall with the rest of his new team mates.
“Pre-season is going well,” he said. “We had a few days away, which was good, and we’re all itching to be playing games more than anything else.
“The days away we’ve had have given us the chance to really get to know each other and that helps when there has been a lot of new players in. I think we’ve integrated well and it feels like everyone has known each other for years already.”
“The day at Cassius Camps helped with the team bonding as well,” he continued. “That was brilliant for us. It’s that kind of thing which shows how much you can pull together and how much you can make a difference when you do.
“It’s about team work and you see how much you can drive someone on when they think they’ve reached the limit. I feel like I’ve settled fine and that’s because I’ve been welcomed into the club after doing things like that. The staff have been great, and it’s a great group of lads, so it’s a good place to be.”
On the run of friendly games over the last few weeks, he said: “We all know we’re going to have to work hard but there’s nothing better than getting out onto the pitch, no matter who you play.
“Matches are where you get your real fitness levels up. I think I’d say I’m probably where I’d want to be right now. The first week was really tough – probably as tough as anything I’ve done for a long time – but physically I feel good.
“The manager has been giving us 45 minutes in each of the games so far but I’m sure we’ll start to get 60 or 75 minutes as we go on now. As I say, it’s all about getting ready for Portsmouth.”
A number of formations and systems have been used through the four games played so far but he insisted that the changes were also part and parcel of what was to be expected from the preparations for the opening game.
“I don’t think playing these different systems will be alien to anyone because we’ve all done it here or at other clubs,” he told us. “It’s a long season so the more formations you have in your locker, and the more lads who can play these different positions, then the more options you have as a squad.
“We don’t know exactly what we’ll play at Portsmouth yet but it’s good to try different things to see which works the best. Everyone is getting on with it and, as I said earlier, it feels like I’ve known this group of lads for years. We’re all here for one thing and the feeling in the camp is that we can do it this year. We just need to get out there and do the business.”