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Oxford United players in shape as new season beckons
9:00am Tuesday 3rd July 2012 in U's News
Oxford United’s squad are expected to report back in shape for pre-season training this week after following fitness programmes since the end of last season.
The players’ physical condition will be assessed on Friday, ahead of full sessions beginning next Monday.
Players have been regular visitors to the club’s gym in the last few weeks and U’s manager Chris Wilder is not expecting anyone in a poor physical condition.
He said: “The players have been in throughout the summer and have been set targets. they have been working hard – it’s a determined group.
“Nobody is behind schedule, obviously there are some people that are better at different things than others.
“We will look to bring them up to speed with the training and the pre-season games we’ve got.
“It’s all about working towards looking to make a fast start to the season.”
Improving strength and conditioning was a highlighted as a key priority following a poor finish to last season, which saw the U’s miss out on the npower League Two play-offs.
The club are planning to hire a new full-time fitness coach this summer and Wilder is focusing on getting through to the start of the season without any knocks.
“Prevention of injuries is the aim, more than anything,” Wilder said.
“I’m sure if we can keep people robust and set up for a 46-game league season then we will do better.”
The group starting full training should include Alfie Potter, after fully recovering from a broken ankle which ruled the winger out fot the second half of the season.
He will be joined by striker Tom Craddock and goalkeepers Ryan Clarke and Wayne Brown, who all had injury problems in the final weeks of the campaign.
But not everyone will be able to go straight into full training.
Defenders Harry Worley and Liam Davis are likely to miss United’s opening pre-season games as they recover from surgery on ankle and groin injuries respectively.
Wilder said: “Pre-season’s all about getting ready for the first game of the season – that’s what we are always looking at.”
United’s first pre-season game is against West Ham at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday, July 17.
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