'The days of them coming back overweight are gone' - Town's fitness chief on pre-season training

Ipswich Town director of performance Andy Rolls

Ipswich Town director of performance Andy Rolls - Credit: ITFC

Andy Rolls has been impressed with the fitness levels of his Ipswich Town players following the squad’s return to pre-season training. 

The Blues’ new director of performance, hired this summer following a spell at Bristol City, is charged with overseeing the club’s fitness programme as manager Paul Cook bids to form a squad capable of staying the course in their League One promotion battle. 

The Ipswich players returned to Playford Road at the weekend for six weeks of tough training, at a time when six new players have arrived and plenty more are expected during a summer of real change. 

“It’s going really well, the boys are working really hard,” said Rolls, who has also worked at West Ham and Arsenal. 

“The days of boys coming back as large as me and needing to lose weight are gone now. They have all looked after themselves over the summer. 

“They’re working hard and we have a new group, so we’re making sure everyone gets round to see everyone else. 

“We start off with a four-minute run with some football and then we edge that up. 

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“There’s always footballs involved. There is running but it’s about getting that balance right. They know they have to do some running in pre-season but it’s about timing it and scheduling it. 

“We’ve all missed it. It’s a different group with players coming from different clubs and people who know each other from elsewhere, so there’s plenty of banter around and they’re in good form.” 

Town began their pre-season match programme with a visit to Dartford next weekend (July 10). 

“It’s a game but it’s only really another training session so we’re not looking at that particularly differently,” Rolls said of the match, during his interview with the club website.

“There will be some objective measures set by the gaffer from what he wants to get out of it but it’s part of the training routine. 

“At the minute we’re two days on, day off then two days on. Three sessions a day. The lads start at 9am with a gym session, a bit of breakfast, the main football session and then lunch and another gym session. 

“As we get nearer some of the later games we’ll adjust to our normal week. Three sessions a day, working hard. 

“It’s a gradual process. Whether to do five or six weeks is often debated but we’ve done six so it’s a gradual process. But it’s quite aggressive because we want a really fit squad of players.” 

Rolls’ and the Ipswich squad’s summer work all leads to the League One opener against Morecambe on August 7. 

“When you get that list of fixtures out you have something to look forward to,” he said. 

“I’ve spent the last few days planning it, looking at travel arrangements and any fixtures we might like to look to change. 

“It gives you something to aim towards.”