After just over ten days of pre-season Carlisle United’s Head of Youth Eric Kinder insists that the Club’s Apprentice players are shaping up nicely ahead of the new campaign.
“I think they’ve come back in really good shape and I’m pleased about that,” Kinder told the Club website.
“I’d say that 95% of them have come back in better condition than I expected them to, but there are a couple of them who haven’t done their summer fitness programme and it’s starting to show now.”
“They’re at the point where they wish they had done it because they’re paying the price. The physical work is really tough and if you haven’t prepared properly it can leave you behind.”
“We have games coming up and if I don’t think certain players are ready then I won’t use them,” he insisted.
“In some cases it’s more important at the moment to get them fit than to have them involved in the football side of it.”
“Having said that, we’re talking about a minority and the good thing is that most of them are in really good shape and that gives us a good foundation to work from.”
“You do find that some of the first year lads underestimate how difficult it’s going to be even though we warn them about it two or three times before we let them go away for their break,” he explained.
“Training full time at a professional football club is really tough and it’s a very steep learning curve for those who aren’t in the right frame of mind and ready for it.”
But with the pre-season programme gathering pace rather than showing any signs of slowing down he was quick to point out that the outlook is very positive.
“The main thing at the moment is that we’ve come through the first ten days with no injuries,” he said. “There are a few aches and pains but you’d expect that, and that’ll ease as they all start to build up their fitness levels.”
Kinder’s charges have been thus far going through the same rigorous fitness work as the Club’s first-team squad which he believes has plenty of benefits.
“Our sessions exactly mirror what the first team are doing. If you watch training and see the first-team doing some endurance work then you can look across and see us going through exactly the same thing. It gets the lads fit and it also gives them a great insight into how hard things are at the next level.”
“I’m not a person who particularly likes pre-season if I’m going to be honest,” he admitted.
“I didn’t like doing it as a player but it’s just something you have to get on with. I much prefer being involved in games which matter during the season, but time does tend to fly by and this period is important to make sure we’re getting everybody ready.”