Paul Jewell delighted with players’ fitness levels – but warns the tough work starts now

PAUL Jewell has hailed the individual summer training sessions imposed on his players as a success.

The first team squad reported back yesterday at Playford Road and immediately underwent a double session aimed at assessing current fitness levels and devising plans for the coming weeks.

Each player was given an individual programme, a decision taken due to the four-month break between the final game of last season and the opening day of 2012/13 on August 18.

Among them, Michael Chopra visited a health camp in California, accompanied by Town fitness coach Andy Liddell, while Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was given specialist endurance work in London.

And Jewell has been left delighted by the results, admitting: “We have tested all the players and the fitness levels have really pleased me.

“I thought they would be good but they have surprised me with the work they have done.

“They have been away, they have all had their programmes and they have had to adhere to them, because they all have these heart monitors that check up on what they are doing.”

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In addition to eight pre-season friendlies, Jewell will do everything in his power to ensure his squad is among the fittest in the Championship.

He insisted: “The pre-season is all about hard work and preparing for a long season. It’s all about getting the players fit at this stage and working without the pressure of league games. But I am really pleased with the shape and condition in which the squad has come back.”

Now supported by former player Mark Kennedy in his coaching staff, the manager yesterday added: “The only time I don’t miss being a footballer is pre-season. Having said that, they will have gone away tonight after those sessions and there is no feeling like it.”