Manager Paul Dickov spoke exclusively to Rovers Player about his plans for the pre-season schedule.
Pre-season is an important time for any team in preparation for the start of a football season. Paul outlined his plans for this period, and how he plans to get the most out of it going into next season’s Championship campaign.
“The pre-season training schedule from day one, all the way up to the start of the season, has already been planned out,” he said.
“It’s an important time; as well as getting much needed fitness into the players, it will be a good time for me to get to know the players and for them to see how I work.
“As a manager I am very fair and honest. I love to create a good team spirit, and there is one here already but we want to make that better. There’s no point just settling with having good things; every day you go out for training you want to be better.
“The season starts on August 3rd next year, and at the time I took over the players were told to report back on July 1st, that’s only four weeks. A four week pre-season is nowhere near enough to go into any season, let alone a tough season in the Championship.
“You need a good six and a half, possibly seven weeks to be at your optimum fitness for the time the first game of the season comes. The one thing that I want to do is, on the first day of pre-season, hit the ground running, because it is important if we want to get results and be successful next year – pre-season is a massively important time for us.
“You have to make sure the pre-season training is structured; there’s no point in getting the players in and just running them for the sake of just running them. Everything you do has to be game related.
It does set their fitness for the whole season, so you have to make sure that they don’t peak too early in pre-season. It’s most important that they are at their peak for the Championship start.
“The pre-season that I have got planned will be very beneficial for the players.
“Ideally you would sort your pre-season out around February/March time in order to get the games you want. We’re still hopeful that, through speaking to some of my contacts, we can get some decent games here at the Keepmoat. The main thing is preparing the players for the start of the season.
“I’ve played in teams that have lost every single pre-season game but went on to gain promotion, and I’ve also played in, and managed, teams that have won every pre-season game and not started off in the best fashion.
“You can’t really read too much into it game wise, but you look for continuity, and most of all fitness.”