Pompey pre-season return brought forward

Leam Richardson, left, with manager Paul Cook
Leam Richardson, left, with manager Paul Cook
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

  • Pompey’s players to return on Wednesday, June 24
  • Cook’s first-team squad presently numbers 17
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POMPEY’s pre-season is to kick-off next Wednesday following a schedule change.

The Blues had been pencilled in to return to training on Monday, June 29.

That is just our personal plan and something we have done in the past few years. You work back from the first game of the season on August 8 to give youself a certain amount of time

Leam Richardson

That had been organised by Gary Waddock and Paul Hardyman while the club were without a manager following Andy Awford’s exit.

However, Paul Cook has since arrived and opted to bring back his squad for pre-season earlier than planned.

Instead, Pompey’s players are to be back in action on Wednesday, June 24.

In addition, time away to bond also remains on the cards as Cook prepares for the 2015-16 season.

Assistant manager Leam Richardson said: ‘Initially, the pre-season programme was created before we came in, but we have gone through it and put in our own structured pre-season.

‘Instead, we have decided to come back on the 24th.

‘That is just our personal plan and something we have done in the past few years. You work back from the first game of the season on August 8 to give yourself a certain amount of time.

‘First and foremost, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to prepare during a pre-season.

‘However, we like to structure our pre-season our way, based on certain intensities and trying to vary it quite a lot so the lads keep their enjoyment.

‘I think the days are gone when you are slogging it around streets, fields, hills and things.

‘In terms of fitness levels, lads look after themselves quite well in this era, so our work will start quite quickly on the intensity and the variation will be good.’

At present Pompey have 17 players on their first-team books for the campaign.

That includes new recruits Enda Stevens, Kal Naismith, Kyle Bennett and Gary Roberts.

In addition, there will be several first-year professionals present on June 24, with the club still to officially announce their identities.

Meanwhile, plans for time away this summer are still being finalised by Cook and his staff.

And Richardson is optimistic something can be arranged.

He added: ‘We are also looking to get away for a week or so.

‘With new players and staff it is important we get together and get to know each other quite quickly.

‘As we speak, we are trying to put something into place so I can’t really give a definitive on it at present.’