Sheffield United report back for pre-season training on Monday, after being warned to expect a punishing week ahead.
Although Chris Wilder’s players will be gently eased back into work, the intensity of the sessions the manager and his coaching staff have devised is scheduled to increase following a low key 48 hours.
“We come back in for tests and such like,” Wilder, who prides himself on the fitness of his squad, said. “Then, once those are all completed, the tough stuff really begins. It’s a vital time of year because it’s the building block for the entire year ahead. We try and make things as enjoyable as possible, because you’ve got to enjoy your work. But they know that, once we’ve got all the info, things begin the get tough.”
Although Wilder’s attacking style places huge physical demands on his squad, he attempts to break the monotony of gruelling runs and endurance drills by encouraging its members to “relax and recharge their batteries” away from the Steelphalt Academy.
“You’ve got to recharge your batteries,” Wilder continued. “It can’t all be completely full-on because, as far as we’re concerned, that’s counter-productive. We’re always looking to see if we can do things better or differently but I think we’ve pretty much got the right mix.”
Midfielder Paul Coutts, who has been out of action since November after breaking a leg, is scheduled to take part in Monday’s activities. Coutts, one of United’s most influential players, hopes to be available for selection when they return to competitive action against Swansea City on August 4. (Kick-off 5.30pm).