Tough Ireland trip stands us in good stead, insists skipper Johnnie Jackson

Club captain Johnnie Jackson has labelled the club’s pre-season trip to Ireland as one of the most gruelling he has ever experienced, and says his side will be better for it. 

The squad were put through an intense, seven-day training camp last week before flying home for the weekend. They returned to Ireland on Monday morning where they then played three matches in as many days, concluding with Wednesday evening’s encounter against UCD.

And, although two games ended in defeat, the skipper believes that the hard training and three games in quick succession will leave them in a good place ahead of the new season.

“On the face of it, you probably think it is too much,” he said, “but the way you manage the minutes makes it work. 

“The idea is us playing under fatigue and we get that. It showed in the third game and on the back of the week we had last week, which was as tough as I have ever had in my 17 or 18 years as a professional. It was right up there. 

“We are feeling it but we get a rest day when we travel home, we’ll be fairly light on Friday and then hopefully by Welling on Saturday we’ll be nice and fresh again and ready to go.”

The Addicks were beaten 4-1 by UCD – who are midway through their season – on Wednesday but Jackson believes there is plenty his side can take from it.

He said: “We were off the pace and we got caught out at the start of the game. It was disappointing to go in 3-0 down at half-time – it wasn’t great and we weren’t happy with it – but it is not the be all and end all in these games. 

“It’s about fitness; working on a few things. They basically scored with every shot they had and we have missed a hatful. 

“They are obviously the things that we need to work on and come the start of the league season those things cannot happen. 

“This is what these pre-season games are for – to iron those things out and get some minutes into the legs. 

“Obviously, we are disappointed because 4-1 doesn’t look great but the most important thing is that we have come away without any injuries, we have got more fitness work in and it will benefit us come the start of the league season.”

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