Chris Wilder is promising the Cobblers squad a ‘very tough’ pre-season when the report back to work at Sixfields next week - and insists that’s just the way the players want it.
Pre-season training starts on Monday with two days of fitness testing, and the Town boss is raring to get going.
The Cobblers are back in a week earlier than most other clubs, and that is because Wilder wants his team to be fitter and stronger than they were last season.
“It is going to be tough, very tough,” said Wilder. “We are going to work harder, and we are going to work longer.
“That is definitely the message to the players.
“We have started back earlier than the majority of clubs, and we will be working hard and trying to get the maximum out of it.
“It’s important that we don’t pick up any injuries, it’s important that we don’t over-train as well.
“But we certainly won’t be under-training I know that, and the players know that.
“To be fair to the players, speaking to the senior ones, they want to work hard, and that is the attitude and mentality of the group I have got here.
“They don’t want an easy way out, they want to succeed, they want to be as fit as possible.
“They are all good pros, and yes there is time for them to relax and let their hair down, and it’s important they do that in a nine-month season.
“But it is very important we give them a really good base to tackle a 50-game season.”
A massive frustration for Wilder last season was the amount of muscle and tendon injuries that key men in his squad picked up.
At some stages it seemed as if a different player was pulling a different muscle each week, and that led to Wilder replacing his fitness and rehabilitation staff.
The Town boss has admitted that he wasn’t hands-on enough last pre-season, and that he trusted others to get his players up to speed, but there will be no such mistake this time around.
Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill will be working very closely with new head of sports science Matt Prestridge to ensure the players are properly prepared for the rigours of a full Sky Bet League Two season.
“Prevention of injuries is obviously a massive one for us after last season,” said Wilder.
“We understand there is going to be impact injuries, and there are going to be strains and whatever, but we really do have to keep them to a minimum if we are going to be successful.
“We aren’t going to run with a massive squad in terms of numbers, we’ve not got an under-21 squad of nine or 10 players, or a youth team that are all going to pile into the first team.
“We are going to run with a tight group, and we want them to be fit, and we want them to be durable as we have always said.
“That will be the message and it’s what pre-season is all about.
“There is no getting away from it, and there are no short-cuts, but it is also important we don’t over-train the players and open the guys up to getting injuries.
“It will all be structured right the way.”