Swindon Town Manager David Flitcroft has provided a detailed account of what his new charges should expect in pre-season.
The new gaffer, who was appointed on Monday, is known for his tough and productive pre-season programmes and he is currently hard at work putting together the Reds’ summer schedule.
Although there is still plenty to arrange, Flitcroft is confident that everything will be in place in order to make sure his players are put to the test so that they are ready to hit the ground running once the 2017/18 Sky Bet League Two campaign gets underway in August.
“I’ve always had a very planned and detailed pre-season and that is probably the only issue I’ve now got,” he told swindontownfc.co.uk.
“I’ve spoke to a lot of the teams in the area, a lot of League One teams to try and fix up some games but you really need to start planning pre-season at the back end of February or early March and making sure that you’ve got those games sorted.
“I’ve got somebody who is working relentlessly on that and we’ve got two or three people working on recruitment with myself and I’m speaking to managers who are away at the minute to try and get some games in.
“That is the crucial part and I always go for teams who will give you a good test, certainly as the backend of pre-season starts coming.
“I’ve always taken a squad on a five or six-day trip to make sure that you can get sessions under the belt but that hasn’t been planned or isn’t in the offing, so it is as weak as a pre-season plan I’ve seen and there’s nothing in there whatsoever.
“That being a blank canvas isn’t so positive but I’ll be calling in a lot of favours to try and get some games sorted. They might be behind closed doors or they might be at training grounds.
“We might have the experience of going to play a Championship team on their training ground and we could turn that into a training day, but it will be as competitive as it can be.
“We are putting a lot of detail and a lot of work into that at the minute to try and get the logistics right on that.
“That is key and I have a real professional six weeks of pre-season planned and every day is planned, monitored and scheduled.
“We’ll probably start a little bit light in the first couple of weeks, certainly on players, but it gives me a good chance to look at the current players and see what they’ve got in the tank, what they’ve got in the heart and see if they really do want to commit to this new approach.”
Flitcroft has also stressed the importance of players bonding throughout pre-season, highlighting once again why it is vital plenty of detail goes into planning the six-week programme.
“I have done some reading on Huddersfield’s incredible achievement and they had seven days together in a camp, the phones were taken off them and they did two or three days living in the wilderness,” he continued.
“They got to bond and a lot of players still talk about that bond and that unity from that trip, and I know David Wagner touches on that as well.
“There is a misconception that players go on a trip for four or five days and it is not concentrated, it is a pure concentrated effort and you have got 24 hours to see what they are like, see where the bonds are, build new bonds, see if there are any cliques and really focus in on what that player is about and what he’s prepared to offer to the rest of the team.
“When times get tough in League Two, League One or any league, you’ve got to know that you’ve had those times and you’ve had those experiences where someone has dug you out of a hole.
“Whether that was a tough circuit, a tough gym session, a running session or an assault course, whatever that might be you’ve stood alongside someone, they’ve stood on that line with you and you know that they’ve got that in the tank.
“A lot of detail goes into a six-week programme and we will get it right - there’s no doubt about that.
“We are prioritising on two fronts which is bringing players in and building a brilliant pre-season because that is your foundation to having a good season.
“Getting players who are conditioned and getting the right work into them is vital.”