Shrewsbury Town’s new-look squad have been put through their paces in the first few days of their warm weather training camp.
The squad have been in Portugal since Sunday and are currently doing three sessions a day including early morning running and evening training.
ShrewsWeb caught up with Louis Dodds who gave his thoughts on the first few days.
“It’s tough”, admitted Louis.
“There’s a lot of hard work and its different training in this sort of weather, but we are getting a lot of work done and I think it’s been good so far even though we are running at seven in the morning and then training right through to seven in the evening.
“It can be hard for new lads to integrate with players that have been here before, but I think so far so good. They are getting involved at dinner and even in training they are coming out of their shell a little bit more.
“As the week progresses we’ve got a bit of team-building and bonding to do, so I think the longer the week goes on the more time we will have spent together and I think that will stand us in good stead for the season.”
Pre-season is a notoriously difficult time for any professional footballer, but Louis believes it is a necessary evil in order to get the squad ready for the season opener against Northampton on 5th August.
“Through pre-season I think the first week to 10 days is tough mentally and physically”, Dodds said.
“You are trying to get your aerobic capacity up to some sort of match level, which is not easy to do. I’m one of those that struggles quite a lot in pre-season, but as soon as the games come I will be fit and raring to go.
“It is the worst part about being a footballer. I know most people might say you get a brilliant lifestyle, which you do, but this is a tough six weeks and then hopefully by the end of the pre-season you will be fit and everyone’s ready and hoping to play against Northampton.”
On Saturday, Town will take on Ebbsfleet United in their first pre-season game and Dodds believes that building up fitness will be more important that getting a win.
“I think fitness is key”, said Louis.
“You can go into the game trying to play intricate passes, trying to get your shots off and sometimes it doesn’t happen because your mind and body aren’t quite in-sync yet, which might sound strange to some people but it does take time to get your match speed in your head.”
“So, it’s one of those where you get your fitness up, get your minutes in and try to do the simple things and not overcomplicate it. Then as the games go on you start getting better and getting ready for the season.”