Worksop Town manager Mark Shaw has called his 2013/14 squad the best he’s ever worked with, after an impressive start to pre-season training.
Shaw has drawn up a gruelling and hectic schedule for his men, one that began with sessions on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend.
Praising the early attitude of the players, he told the Guardian: “I think it’s the best group I’ve worked with at all the clubs I’ve been to.”
“They have the best attitude and they’re trying to prove that they are on board with what we’re trying to do.”
“First impressions are very good and I’m hopeful they will continue to respond in the right way.”
“I’m over the moon.”
The first two training sessions of the summer saw all but two of the first team squad assemble at Manton Athletic Club on Retford Road, for weight training, cardiovascular work and even some football.
Shaw, pictured right, says the days of players simply running round football pitches to get fit are over.
“It wasn’t all hard running,” he said.
“We did some sharper stuff, a bit of long distance, a bit of ball work and we were using the weights.”
“There are methods to what we’re doing, they have to work on different types of fitness, football related work that is used during a game.”
Although he admits getting part-time footballers to turn out on consecutive weekend days was asking a lot, Shaw believes it will stand Tigers in good stead.
“It’s something we’ve done before at a previous club and we got ourselves into great shape.”
“We can get together, see each other a bit more and get used to each other.”
“Saturdays and Sundays are rest days from work for these players but none of them moaned or groaned.”
“They all worked extremely hard – it was great to be working with players who want to do that and want to progress.”
“If they keep it up then I’m in for a very good season, I’m asking a lot of them, a little bit more than usual, but we’re trying to get to the levels of fitness and cohesion that we will need.”
It isn’t just the attitude of his players that has Shaw excited about the new Evo-Stik Premier Division campaign.
He explained: “We were doing small sided football work and the quality was excellent.”
“I think these players are very good, and I think they can prove a lot of people wrong.”
“Even at a higher tempo, there was a lot of quality and we’ll be working to improve that as well.”
A couple of triallists, recently released by Barnsley, have joined in with Worksop Town’s sessions, and Shaw is hoping to add one more signing to his squad this week.
“Two young players who have been let go by Barnsley have been training, we’re having a look at them.”
“And we’ve got a signing we’re trying to work a bit of magic with, we’re talking personal terms and if it comes off it will be business done.”
“Towards the end of the week we hope to finalise the squad list and talk about the squad a little bit more.”