A critical time of any Football Club’s calendar, pre-season has oft been associated with long days and energy sapping runs as players try to blow away the cobwebs and build up fitness levels ahead of a long campaign.
Double sessions, long distance runs and hill running have throughout the years been experienced by thousands of players and after starting back for pre-season training on 26th June, Preston North End’s Apprentices could’ve been forgiven for thinking that they too were in for this gruelling annual ritual.
However North End’s Head of Youth Dean Ramsdale has followed a different approach and believes that it will pay dividends once the season begins in earnest.
“I’ve been delighted with the boys, they had a close-season programme that they all followed and we’re bearing the fruits of that now, we’ve come back and hit the ground running.”
“We’ve had the balls out every day and we’ve done no running bar a 400m run. We’ve had the heart rate monitor’s out so we’ve been looking at the intensity of the sessions and then looking at what we did last year and we’ve had less injuries than last year.”
In addition to North End’s enlightened approach to pre-season the Club has also been able to secure excellent opposition in their pre-season games programme which Ramsdale believes is the perfect foil to the hard work put in on the training ground, he added:
“We go to an event at Manchester United each year which is good and all about training and development even though we play 40 minute matches. You see a different intensity when they face opposition from a different Club so it’s great, we’ve had a great result against Bolton and then we travel to Scotland for a game against Livingston and then we go to Ireland. We’ve got a couple more good competitive games towards the end of pre-season.”
With games against Aston Villa and Celtic to come North End look determined to mount a determined defence of their Youth Alliance crown when the season kicks off on August 14th.
Watch Dean’s full interview on the LFE TV player on the homepage.