13:11 15th July 2013
Players in good shape as they depart for Austria
ALBION’S pre-season preparations have got off to a flying start – that is the verdict of fitness coach Matt Green.
The Baggies depart for Austria today for an eight-day training camp that includes two games.
Steve Clarke’s men will take on German outfit Hannover 96 at the home of Austrian club FC Gleisdorf 09, in Styria, on Thursday, July 18 (ko 7pm local time).
The Baggies will also hop across the border to take on Hungarian team Puskas FC Academy at FC Sopron's stadium on Monday, July 22 (ko 6pm local time).
And Green reckons the players - who beat Tamworth 4-0 in a behind-closed-doors training match on Saturday - are heading to their Bad Waltersdorf base in the best physical shape he has seen them in at this stage of pre-season.
“I usually take quite a lot of grief for making them do the hard work but they seem to have come back with good morale and in good spirits and they’ve knuckled down and got on with it,” he said.
“They know that’s what to expect and they know what they’re in for. It’s been a really good week so far. We’re enjoying it and they’re doing well.
“The boys reported last Saturday and Sunday – they came in on either one day or the other for a screening protocol between the sports science and medical department.
“There were lots of different screens and tests to make sure they were in a good condition to come back and make sure we could put programmes in place.
“Since then all the boys have been training together and doing double sessions.
“They have been in in the morning for a session made up of a football component and a conditioning component, with running work and strength work.
“Then they’re into a hotel to rest and recover and they come back in at 5pm for a second session of the day, which is just football.
"In the morning sessions we’re working on 80-90 minutes and the afternoon sessions are about 60 minutes. There is a high intensity to both sessions.
"This is as good a shape as I’ve seen them as a group.
“Pre-season is all about laying the foundations for the players to go on and express themselves technically and tactically in the games throughout the season,” he said.
“We do all we can now to prepare them physically for the start of the campaign.
"Last year we did a lot of good work in August and thankfully started well.
"We will make sure we deliver the same standard of work to them.”