Back in last Monday training proved to be quite tough because unlike the First team the Academy lads like myself are given time off over Christmas and the New Year. That’s not to say that we completely shut down, the majority of the Academy players made it in to the club to train for 3 or 4 days over the festive period to keep ticking over. However it’s amazing how much you notice what some time off does to you, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s almost a second pre-season but you can certainly feel the difference on your return.
Training was designed to be intense so we started with some 4v2 possession as part of the warm up before moving in to a another possession game on a larger scale. By this stage I was starting to feel the effects of the christmas break, as I couldn’t run any more, but I just dug deep and kept going. Don’t get me wrong it’s never a chore but it’s certainly felt tough, after the session you can really feel the benefit and I think most of the lads were just buzzing to be out on the pitch again.
On Tuesday we had to report to training for 11:30, because we had to train indoors due to the snow. Snow and really adverse weather of any kind is just a nightmare from a training perspective, for example, today the indoor facility was being used by the reserve and first team, So we had to wait our turn which is fine but equally disruptive because the coach may for example have planned to run a session to work on something in a game that requires an outdoor pitch only to find he has to make huge alterations and put something together at the last minute.
We were joined for today’s session by some of the school boy players and we were also introduced to the club’s new assistant academy manager Willie Donachie who I think most people will remember for his associations with Manchester City and Oldham Athletic, he’s got great experience that can only help us in our development.
He took control of the school boys while the Apprentices did some shooting. We came together half an hour later for a 11 sided game. We were trying to prepare for the youth cup game next week as our weekend game looked more certain to be cancelled.
We played some great stuff, passed the ball really well, and looked on form. I remember thinking to myself if we played anything next week, we’ll be flying when we play Reading.
We got Wednesday and Thursday off due to the snow, but after a bit of college work we were in to train at the indoor facility. It’s always hard training in there so we didn’t train for too long. We did a possession drill where you had to transfer the ball from end to end. The session was aimed at delivering the killer ball, and taking opposition players out of the game by switching the play.
We were in on Saturday morning for an hour game with the reserve team and they shaped up in to the formation that Reading use to help us prepare for Wednesday. I hope Reading aren’t as good as some of our Reserves though – the shape and positioning of their side threw us a little bit to start with but after some advice from our coach, we were able to adapt and get in their faces to stop them playing. Let’s just hope this preparation serves us well for our game at The Madejski.
We trained again on Monday and did a light session on Tuesday before getting on the Coach to head down south. I’ll let you know how we got on in my next blog but were all dying to play now!