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30 March 2022

"That whole performance team work very hard...we set our standards very high"

Town CEO Mark Ashton and Director of Performance Andy Rolls have heaped praise on the Club's medical team.

The duo were speaking at yesterday's Fans' Forum, with Kieran McKenna also in attendance to answer supporters' questions at Portman Road.

While many clubs have called off fixtures his term, particularly around the festive period, Town have never had to do so, thanks in no small part to strict Covid-19 restrictions.

Injuries, whilst inevitable in a squad, have also been kept to a minimum this season thanks to the work of the Club's performance and medical staff, which has been overseen by Andy since his arrival last summer.

"That whole performance team work very hard," Andy told supporters at the Fans' Forum. "The medical team often get labelled with injuries and that’s unfair as it’s a much bigger team than that.

"We set our standards very high. The [target squad] percentage of availability for Champions League teams is 86%. We’ve set our aim at 88% going through the season as one of our KPIs [key performance indicators]. We assess that on a Friday and there has only been three Fridays this season where we’ve been below that. Given the increase in training since Kieran has come in, we’ve been very pleased with that.

"We have also made the decision not to make any changes to our Covid protocols until the end of the season. We will then review it in the summer and see how we go.

"We’ve perhaps relaxed things five or 10 per cent at the training ground but we’ve still got very rigid protocols. We’re still travelling on two coaches and we still have single occupancy rooms rather than twin rooms in hotels.

"We’re probably being a little bit 'boring' by sticking to it, but that's because I don’t want an outbreak of Covid to impact anything that we’re building towards." 

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CEO Mark added: "The Football club is sometimes like a swan; it looks calm on the surface but there is a hell of a lot of activity that goes on underneath that people do not see. 

"This football club has one of the best Covid, or anti-Covid, records in the country. Andy Rolls, Matt Byard and the medical team have worked tirelessly and have worked wonders to keep our players and staff safe, and to keep the games going. 

"They deserve huge credit for that and they probably do not get the credit they deserve."

Tuesday was the first time that Andy has been on the panel at a Fans' Forum, with the evening providing an opportunity for him to give further insight into his role as Director of Performance.

Andy continued: "The performance department’s main job is to take as much 'rubbish' away from the manager as possible so he can concentrate on what he does in training, what players he buys and what team he picks. 

"Underneath me, I have Matt Byard who has been here for many years and is Head of Medicine, Andy Costin who is Head of Sports Science and Ivan Mukandi who manages the Strength & Conditioning side.

"I also have the responsibility with [Club Secretary] Stuart [Hayton] and [Chief Operating Officer] Luke [Werhun] for the arrangement of transport so the manager doesn’t have to worry about where we are eating or what hotels we are staying at. 

"The best way to sum the job up is that it is allowing the manager to concentrate purely on football."

Last night's Fans' Forum can be watched back in full here.

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