Stevenage FC Manager Dino Maamria has spoken about the intense training his squad has been undergoing since flying out to Slovenia for a pre-season training camp on Tuesday...
The team have been based near the Croatian border and Maamria says the group have been keeping to a busy schedule throughout the week.
“We have been training three or four times a day. We work in the gym in the morning and then we have breakfast. After that we have been having a football session then a pool session before a little break in the afternoon.
“Later in the evening we have another football training session at half past five, so it has been hard work but all good.”
As often is the case, the joruney didn’t go without hiccup. The squad’s departure was slightly delayed from the airport but Maamria says it had no affect on their first day of training.
“The plane was delayed by a couple of hours but it wasn’t a big deal. We arrived later than expected but these things happen and everyone was ready to get to work the next day.”
Some however may have savoured the delays, as it meant the squad were able to keep up to date with the England score before take-off.
“We managed to watch most of the England game from Luton Airport. We actually found out the final result from the pilot as we had to board just after Colombia equalised!”
Maamria and his staff designed the high altitude training camp to improve both the players’ fitness and the chemistry between the squad.
He believes that the players have risen to - and met - the physical demands of the hot environment and says that the experience will only help build team morale as the players work together to overcome the challenges they face.
“Yes it is tough and the lads are working hard but the lads are enjoying it too. We are spending a lot of time together; getting to know each other and having some fun too so it is all good and valuable preparation.
“The heat is not too bad. That is the reason why we are out here. We are trying to get the players as fit as possible so the heat and altitude is all part of the deal.”
The camp will culminate on Friday before a Saturday morning departure for home. Maamria understands that many players in the squad’s attention may shift, along with the nation, towards England on Saturday.
“We come back on Saturday morning so the players should have time to get home and watch the game. It is superb for the country and we are all very much behind the team.”
Following the England game however, he expects all the players to re-focus on all things Stevenage.
“We will be back at Bragbury End on Monday to prepare for St Albans on Tuesday. We will play two sets of 45 minutes so all the players get an opportunity to play – that is how I will plan the game.”