Curle readies players for ‘physical and mental challenge’ as he prepares his first Cobblers pre-season
“There will be days when players think they have done enough, and I am going to demand more.”
Boss Keith Curle has been outlining his plans for his first pre-season as the Cobblers boss, and it’s pretty clear the players are going to be in for a gruelling few weeks.
The Town squad return from their summer break on June 26, and then it will be back to the grindstone as Curle prepares the squad for what he is hoping will be a successful Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The players are currently taking a well-earned break from playing, but the Cobblers boss has warned them they can’t afford to enjoy themselves too much!
“We are back on June 26, and all the players that have signed have been given their off-season programmes for them to adhere to,” said Curle.
“That enables us to hit the ground running, although obviously the first couple of days is all about fitness assessment and where the players are at.
“We don’t expect the players to come back football fit, but they need to be in a condition whereby we are able to get them in line we need them to be, so that we can start the football.
“Any players that are behind will have to play catch-up, so that is the reason for the off-season programme.
“They have been given a couple of weeks’ down time, but they are professional sportsmen and athletes and they need to maintain their physical conditioning.
“There are rest days and rest periods within it, but apart from that they are all expected to maintain good levels of professional conditioning.”
Curle is no stranger to organising a pre-season campaign, having spent many years as a manager at clubs such as Mansfield Town, Notts County and Carlisle United.
Some managers are pretty set in their ways and will their pre-season set in stone year after year, whereas others will freshen things up and vary things.
It seems that Curle is in the latter camp.
“I change it up every year,” said the 55-year-old, who took over as Cobblers boss in October.
“It is dependent on the fitness levels of the group, and is dependent on how quickly we get into the football development part.
“When I came into theclub I said we need to evolve the footballing department, and this is it, this will be the first pre-season I have been able to have with the players.
“It is a pre-season where we have to get the fundamentals and good practises in place for how we want to play.
“We are going to have try and bed in new characters, new personalities within the group, but ultimately they have been brought in because they have the footballing attributes that I want.
“It is then about finding the strengths and weaknesses and giving the players good indications of where I expect them to do their work, and that is individually and collectively as a group.
“We need to get everybody in step.”
As well as training at the club’s base at Moulton College, the Cobblers are also going to Spain for a week in early July.
It is a crucial time for the manager and his players, especially as there will be plenty of new faces, and Curle has also made it clear it is going to be a testing time for the whole squad.
“We are going to spend a lot of time together in pre-season,” said the Town manager.
“It is going to be long days, and it is going to be a hard, physical challenge for the players.
“That is how the pre-season is set out, as a challenge to the players, not only physically but mentally as well.
“There will be days when players think they have done enough, and I am going to demand more.
“It is then how you get players reacting to challenges.”