Pre-season remains a delicate balancing act for Brakes boss

Paul Holleran is preparing to undertake another pre-season with Brakes.
Paul Holleran is preparing to undertake another pre-season with Brakes.

Leamington returned to training ahead of the new campaign last night with Paul Holleran hopeful the break will have done them more harm than good.

Exactly eight weeks on from their Birmingham Senior Cup final success at St Andrews, the Brakes squad were being put through their paces as they start to work off the summer excesses.

And Holleran says that after a punishing Conference North campaign, time away from the football environment counter balances any loss of conditioning.

“It’s massively important players get a breather,” he said.

“We’ve been able to give them seven, eight weeks away.

“It’s a long, hard season. It takes a lot out of players mentally and physically.

“A longer break helps them come back fresher and they look forward to coming back.

“If you start back too early, they still looking forward to coming back but pre-season can become repetitive.

“If you do seven to eight weeks of pre-season the players tend to get more fatigued.

“We like to do around five weeks, get 250 to 300 minutes of game time into the players and touch wood we tend not to pick up too many injuries and start the season well.”

While fitness work will be the focus in the early stages, Holleran says the images of balls being locked away are well wide of the mark.

“It’s a myth.

“I go back to pre-season when I was in charge at Solihull, 16, 17, 18 years ago and the balls were always out.”

The conditioning work will not extend to the gaffer, however, with the former Sutton Coldfield Town boss admitting his close-season training has been confined to the local park.

“It’s been brisk walks, sometimes breaking into a trot.

“But my intervals take place over days.

“I’m more comfortable with a whistle around my neck and a couple of poles to lean on.”

Brakes start their pre-season campaign with a trip to Redditch United on Tuesday evening.