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21 July 2020

First day of a build-up that will be different as Town look to a September 12 kick-off

The Town first-team players will be back at the training ground today for the first time since March as the build-up to the 2020/21 campaign begins.

Manager Paul Lambert and the coaching staff will work with the players in small groups to fall in line with the protocols of stage one return to training.

In a change to those protocols, players are no longer required to undertake regular testing for Covid-19 if all the social distancing and other guidelines are implemented for the first stage of a return to training.

The players will arrive in kit, train at allocated times in small groups and then return home without using the dressing-rooms or showers. They will only work outdoors, with no access to the gym, canteen or training ground complex.    

“The players are back today and we are able to do stage one training now without the testing procedure as long as strong protocols are in place,” Town’s general manager football operations, Lee O’Neill, told the Club website.

“We need to see where the lads are with their fitness levels because they have not trained since March.

“That’s what the next five days will be about. Are they de-conditioned? Have they lost muscle mass? Is their range of movement down?

“They may come back in better condition with the break then when they left off, we don’t know so that’s what we need to look at and then we can plan from there.

“If the lads are in really good condition, very quickly then we can look at moving on to phase two which is contact training. That is likely to be in early August and as it stands at the moment, testing will be needed for that. That could change though.

“It will be a different pre-season than usual and it’s a long one as well, up to eight weeks. We are going to have to mix it up.”

Lee also expects the League One season to kick-off on September 12 rather than at the end of August.

“Two dates have been mentioned and why nothing has been confirmed, we are working towards the September start,” he added.

The Club website and social media team will be at the training ground this morning to cover the first day back - from two metres of course!

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