Picton looks to set the standards in pre-season

Lee Picton
In just under a month’s time the Blyth Spartans players will return to pre-season training as they look to build upon the impressive progress made last season.

And when they do so they will be met by assistant manager Lee Picton, who has been meticulous in his planning of their schedule ahead of the new campaign.

And the former FA Vase winner admitted that he is looking forward to challenging his players on a number of levels, stressing the importance of the pre-season period.

“It is a massively important time and it is something I have been looking forward to for a while now. It is a big opportunity for me as a coach to lay the foundations and the principles of how I see us moving forwards on the pitch.

During the back end of the season it was game after game and it was tough to do classic, meaningful, tactical sessions on the training pitch because we were always playing and keep them physically fit.

So I am really looking forward to it, we have a great squad and hopefully will have a couple of more quality additions over the next couple of weeks and I think the lads will enjoy the facilities at Monkseaton Academy and the sessions we have in place”

However Picton also warned the Spartans players to expect to work hard.

“Make no doubt about it I will work them hard. Fitness is a key component of the pre-season period but it is going to be great to push them physically and tactically and make sure we are ready for day one of the season”

And his targets are clear, to make progress on a number of different levels. One of the key aspects of last season was the physical fitness levels that helped the Spartans squad through a tough schedule that included three and four matches a week for the final three months of the season.

However, Picton isn’t solely focusing on fitness and revealed that he wants the players to set their standards for a tough campaign ahead.

“In pre-season you are trying to make progress in all areas. You want the lads fit, match fit that is, you want to try new things tactically and maybe test a few things you can’t do during the season. The physical side is key, the tactical side is key but most of all pre-season sets the standards that you strive to hit for the rest of the season”

The team spirit in the Spartans camp was evident during last season’s FA Cup run and play-off push. With two new additions already through the door and a couple more hopefully to follow Picton hopes that he can enhance that spirit, revealing that team spirit is always “at the forefront” in his mind.

“Team spirit is massive and we have a great spirit here. Pre-season will enhance that and we will put things in place to help new lads settle. Maybe we won’t use every session as a classic football session, we will do something to enhance team bonding and help everyone prepare for the new season.

The group dynamic is so important for me and it is always at the forefront of my mind. The lads will see that during the pre-season period”

With pre-season games against the likes of Carlisle United, Blackpool and the Edinburgh Spartans Picton and his players will be tested. Northern League sides Ashington and Newcastle Benfield make up the current set of games that Tom Wade’s side face and Picton hopes that another one or two games could be revealed in the next two weeks.

However he doesn’t expect or want more than that, admitting that he already thinks the level of games and the quality of the opposition is what he wants.

“It’s a great schedule in pre-season and we are still waiting on one or two fixtures, which should be sorted in the next two weeks. I am not a big fan of having lots of games for the sake of playing; there is value in getting something from time on the training pitch.

We have the standard of opposition right, we have the level of games right and we now need to ensure that everything is right for day one of that season”

Posted by BSAFC Admin