We get a final update from the Pools boss as he prepares to lead the squad's last training session in La Cala.
Saturday 12th July 2014, 8.00am
Hello and welcome back to our training camp in La Cala for my final diary update of our training here in Spain.
I know it’s pretty easy to say when we’re in such lovely surroundings but I genuinely think this has been a very good week for us and one which will prove hugely beneficial moving forward.
I have to say that the players have worked very hard and you can sense there is a real togetherness among the group seeing them help each other through the hard stuff they’ve done on the training pitch.
We’ve put lots of different obstacles in front of them during the week but they’ve done the work needed to overcome them all so hopefully we can finish off a good week of training with one final session of real quality this morning.
We’ve tried to push them as hard as we can and when you do that I think it’s important to give them some down time as well. We did that on Wednesday when they had some time to themselves and we’ll do it again this afternoon once the work is done. You can put obstacles in front of players but there comes a point when you can break them and that’s not what we’re here to do so we’ll find the right balance.
Through the week I’ve been working on different-sized areas to get the physical work in and have a look at the technical side at the same time. This morning we’ll go on to the full pitch for the first time though; we have 22 outfield players so I want to have a look at us in an 11 v 11 situation this morning because when we go back home our games programme will begin pretty quickly.
We will be looking to see if people put in to practice some of the things we’ve been working on this week. It will be physical with it being an 11 v 11 so they’ll still be being asked to work very hard but hopefully we’ll see some of the technical work we’ve done coming through and some people can do some individual bits to excite us as well.
This pre-season is the way I have always done things really and it’s been great to see things coming together and developing so well. I think you try to have a week and a half or two weeks of quite physical work at the start and I think players appreciate pre-season will be hard and they just need to get their heads down and work through it.
Putting people on a line and telling them to get from A to B will certainly test their lungs, their hearts and their minds but you can also get some of that physical work out of them with a technical element thrown in too whether that be in terms of possession or pressing or something else.
As I say, they have worked hard and there will have been mornings when they’ve woken up tired or stiff and had to just get on with it. We’re asking them for one more morning of hard work and if we get what we’re looking for and they put every ounce of effort in this morning then we’ll give them some rest time this afternoon. If we don’t get what we want, we’ll be back out there this afternoon!
As well as hard work and rest we’ve also tried to have a social side to things and on Friday night there was a quiz put together which the lads split in to teams for. I think that the longer I am involved in football as a player or a coach it surprises me less that the staff tend to win quizzes!
Last night’s quiz was a lot of fun and some of the answers and reactions you get – especially from the younger players – is outstanding.
They’re a good bunch and there are some really good characters in there. I believe that football is lacking real characters these days but we’ve got a couple, both young and old, in the group and that can only stand us in good stead as we go on through the season.
However, I’m not sure it will help them when it comes to any future quizzes because I have to admit that the staff team took all the plaudits last night without having to put too much effort in if I’m being honest!
Anyway, that’s all from me for the week. I hope you’ve enjoyed my updates from La Cala and I’d like to end by thanking all the staff here for their help in making sure we’ve had everything we’ve needed throughout the brilliant week here.
See you soon!