Chris Wilder has warned his Cobblers players they are in for a tough pre-season when they return to Sixfields to prepare for the new Sky Bet League Two campaign next month.
Town’s squad will return to training on Monday, June 22, and as part of the pre-season programme it has been announced they will be spending a week in Brighton at a training camp, from July 5 to July 11.
During their stay on the south coast they will play friendlies at Worthing on July 7 (ko 7.30pm) and then Burgess Hill Town on July 11 (3pm), and Wilder is determined to ensure his team is fitter and better prepared for next season than they were for the one that has just finished.
“We are back in June 22, which is early, but everything is structured,” said Wilder.
“I’m not saying it to gain points in terms of public support, but I think the players have got to work a lot harder this pre-season.
“It’s important that my staff get that right, because we certainly didn’t get that right last summer, with the injuries we have had over the season.
“That might be the reason why things happen during games of football, why we do pick up injuries, maybe why we do switch off in certain situations.
“So it is important I get pre-season right.
“I am not going to say it is going to be a ridiculously gruelling, unbelievably tough pre-season, where we’re all collapsing and blowing up in January, because that’s not right.
“We have to plan it, we have to periodise it, and make sure we are right all the way through the season.”
“Alan Knill and I have enough experience in this league, and the majority of the time we have done the pre-seasons ourselves, and we will be more involved.”
As well as the friendlies at Worthing and Burgess Hill, who both played in the Ryman League Division One South last season, the Cobblers have also lined up a friendly at Sixfields against Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham City on July 21.
Further fixtures have yet to be confirmed, although the Cobblers will at some stage go to Brackley Town to play the NFA Maunsell Cup Final.
Burgess Hill were the winners of the Ryman League Division One South last season, and are managed by former Brighton player Ian Chapman, while Worthing finished sixth in the same division, and are managed by another former Seagulls player, Adam Hinshelwood.