‘We need to see where the lads are with their fitness levels’ - Town players return to training
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town’s first team players have returned to training today after months off due to the coronavirus pandemic – with the team preparing for the new League One season to kick off in September.
Manager Paul Lambert and the coaching staff will work with the players in small groups to fall in line with the protocols of stage one return to training.
The team haven’t played since early March, and have been following individual training plans over the course of the long break.
The players will arrive in kit, train at allocated times in small groups and then return home without using the dressing-rooms or showers. They will only work outdoors, with no access to the gym, canteen or training ground complex.
“The players are back today and we are able to do stage one training now without the testing procedure as long as strong protocols are in place,” Town’s general manager football operations, Lee O’Neill, told the club website.
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“We need to see where the lads are with their fitness levels because they have not trained since March.
“That’s what the next five days will be about. Are they de-conditioned? Have they lost muscle mass? Is their range of movement down?
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“They may come back in better condition with the break then when they left off, we don’t know so that’s what we need to look at and then we can plan from there.
“If the lads are in really good condition, very quickly then we can look at moving on to phase two which is contact training. That is likely to be in early August and as it stands at the moment, testing will be needed for that. That could change though.
“It will be a different pre-season than usual and it’s a long one as well, up to eight weeks. We are going to have to mix it up.”
O’Neill also confirmed that Town are working towards the season starting on September 12, rather than the end of August.
He added: “Two dates have been mentioned and why nothing has been confirmed, we are working towards the September start.”