Shrewsbury Town’s Under-18s returned to pre-season training on Monday.
Fifteen scholars underwent fitness testing on the first day back with sprinting, jumping and the dreaded ‘YoYo’ test undertaken.
“It’s really good to be back”, admitted Eric.
“There’s a really good feel about the place and I think everyone’s had a good off-season. We’ve d opportunities for them to come in and top-up over the course of the off-season and everyone looks sharp and they are raring to go.
“We were really pleased with the attitude and application in what were some really difficult tests this morning. I think the guys from Pro Football Support have mentioned that in comparison with the other Football League clubs they have visited, we are right up there with our returning levels of fitness, so that is testament to the work the players have put in during the off-season.”
All seven of Town’s new first-year scholars were present and Eric is adamant that the squad will have a good feel about it this season.
“I think we are really hopeful that it’s not a group of first years and a group of second years, but that it becomes a whole squad pretty quickly, said Ramsay.
“I think the players that are coming into the group are of really good character and I can’t see there being any problems in terms of integration.
“Pre-Season is an opportunity to spend a lot of time together. We are in a situation where a lot of the guys share digs together and this season we’ve got a lot of the first years living with second years opposed to the groups being separated, so I think this group will become pretty tight pretty quickly.”
Town’s Youth Team have a busy pre-season schedule planned which includes fixtures in the Shropshire Senior Cup and Eric is hopeful that the whole programme will strike the right balance.
“We’ve got a set of about seven games against a real variety of teams”, said Eric.
“We play Wolves Under-18s, we play a couple of games in the Shropshire Senior Cup, we play Newtown who are a Welsh Premier League senior side, so we are aiming to have a good balance of playing senior teams and youth teams with a view to developing our players capability to compete physically with adults.
“Beyond that there will be a lot of hard work and a lot of hard training here. We’ve opted not to go away for a brief spell anywhere, with a view to getting some quality time on the grass here, so it’s a mixed bag of games and a lot of hard work.”