Anybody that says they love pre-season is lying.
I can’t speak on behalf of the fans, but I’m sure they similarly feel that nothing beats the real thing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to these six weeks. Regaining the required fitness levels and becoming acquainted with your new colleagues are a couple of them, but it still doesn’t compare to playing competitively every week.
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Aches, pains and blisters are the order of the day, so you have to get your head around it.
I’m aware there are far worse things to be doing in the world, but it can still be torturous at times waiting for August 3 to come around.
Throughout the week the gaffer has worked us hard with and without the ball, all in preparation for what could be another gruelling 62-game season.
It’s nice to get to the point now where the games seem to take over and that’s where you gain your full fitness. Running up and down a pitch only gets you so far, playing games is the only way to get up to match speed and the required fitness levels.
The matches also give the manager an opportunity to implement his philosophy and tactics – and they will undoubtedly come to fruition as the games go by.
Without wanting to regurgitate the same old quotes, it was genuinely good to see all the lads when we came back in and the new faces seem a good bunch.
Spending a week in Ireland with them was enjoyable, but I was glad to get home if only to not hear Ellis Harrison’s voice for a bit! Joking aside, it was a beneficial week and those trips really help to bed the new lads into the club.
So, roll on August and everything that comes with it.
We are leaving no stone unturned in our pursuit of taking three points at Shrewsbury.
I’m sure it’s going to be another eventful season as the last four have been – I personally can’t wait for it to start.