The Shrewsbury Town squad have been hard at work since Monday on their training camp in Southern Portugal.
Training has been taking place morning and evening, as well as other activates to help the group to bond and develop over the week away.
Tonight Town travel to the Estadio da Nora, Ferreiras, in Albufeira for a practice game with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.
Town manager Sam Ricketts is looking forward to getting the chance to get some more training minutes under his player’s belts.
“Tonight is purely a practice game split over the 90 minutes and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was stop/start at times over the 30-minute blocks”, said Sam.
“It's about giving some context to what we are trying to do in training but the big part of it is the physical load and exercise, as much as it is the tactual side.”
So far Town have played two good competitive practice games with TNS and Wolves U23. The idea now is to start to get players longer out on the pitch to step up the pre-season work.
“It will be a good test for us and we are starting to increase the minutes that the players get”, said Sam.
“We will start to get some up to 45 minutes and then start to look to get that up to 60 minutes.
“I’m not sure where Sheffield Wednesday are in their preparation but we are using the game as another step along our pre-season ladder.”
There will be a couple of faces unavailable for tonight’s game with Dan Udoh still waiting on his visa to allow him to travel and Ollie Norburn and Josh Laurent out with knocks.
“Dan’s visa was due in ten days ago and he’s been chasing it since then, but unfortunately he hasn’t been able to get it as yet”, said Sam.
“Hopefully that will be sorted very soon and he will be able to join up with the group.
“We will be missing Norbs and Josh who have picked up knocks, we will be assessing the severity of those over the next couple of days.”
Youngster Lifumpa Mwandwe, Kian Taylor and Cam Gregory haven’t made the trip out to Portugal. They are currently out training with other sides looking to sort out loan deals.
“There are only so many places who can come away with us and as much as we want the youngsters with us we want them to be playing games”, said Sam.
“We have organised for them to go away this week and to train and play with a few sides with the view to potentially going out on loan.
“The aim is to get them to a club where they will be able to get some much-needed game time.”
With young players, a big part of their development is to go out to play games and loans are essential to this. Last season Ryan Barnett and James Rowland both had spells away and this has helped them go to Portugal this year.
“We’ve seen it last season with Barney going to Telford and James Rowland going out on loan as well”, said Sam.
“James went out last year but this season he is with us on the training camp.
“That is partly down to going out on loan and partly down to how well he played in the CheckaTrade Trophy last season that now he is forming part of the first-team group.”
The game will be held at Estadio da Nora, Ferreiras, in Albufeira on Tuesday 9th July with a 7 pm kick-off. The game will be open to Town supporters to attend with admission on the night costing €10 for adults and €5 for U12.