Things gear up another notch or three here at Brunton Park this week as the players return for pre-season training with the first session under the new manager and his staff set to take place on Thursday.
From there it will be the first ten days of an intense programme followed by the first friendly of the summer against Barrow [Tuesday 10 July, Holker Street].
Speaking about the friendly fixtures, the gaffer told us: “I’m pleased with all the games we’ve arranged. Being honest, there was nothing in place at all when I took over, so I’ve had Paul Murray and Sarah McKnight working hard on pulling that together for us.
“It’s important to play local teams but, whoever we go up against, it’s all about our fitness levels, keeping everybody fit once we get them there, and getting them the pitch time when the games come along.
“I’ll be monitoring attitudes and application from day one and I want to see every player performing and believing he’s going to start in our first game of the season against Exeter.”
In terms of what the players can expect over the course of the next few weeks, he told us: “It’ll be hard, but I think any professional would expect that these days. Gone are the days when they can switch off and put a few pounds on through their summer weeks off.
“I want them to come back ready for it because that means they’ll be thinking about getting into the team.
“We’ll use some of the time to look at trialists because sometimes you get lads who catch your eye and earn a chance. Our young players will be given the same opportunity because I think that’s important. They’re part of our club and they’re here for a reason.
“I like to involve them in training whenever I can. I’ll be pushing them to believe they have an opportunity to feature and progress. There’s no better feeling as a boy than to be in and around the first team. For a local lad it’s a dream come true, and with me they can get rest assured that if they show me they’re worth it, they’ll get that chance.”
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